Academic Adventures - Liturgy
Trip Start Jun 29, 2012
22Trip End Dec 23, 2012
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I love the way that Moltmann frames theological study in this quote. Discovery, mystery, imagination, and curiosity are not the first words that I would have chosen to describe seminary or theology before I started. However, from the point of view year two, those adjectives are fairly accurate. This semester abroad has been particularly filled with adventures of the academic, cultural, culinary, and touristic kind! As I have neglected the academic exploits, let me give them a bit of attention...
I would say that the class is divided into three parts: biblical-historical foundations of Christian liturgy, survey of religious services in São Paulo, liturgy practicums
My group for the religious service visit was Buddhism. Unfortunately, they were not having a meditation service/reunion at the regularly scheduled time. We did however receive a tour and delightful question-answer session with a monk. This community's tradition was from the Mahayana line. The temple was beautiful and located in the Liberdade neighborhood of São Paulo. I was not allowed to take photos in many spots and I don't think she wanted them posted on the internet. Here is a shot of my group outside of the temple.
Also fascinating was the presentation on the Igreja Universal Reino de Deus (IRUD)/Universal Church of the Kingdom of God. It is a neo-pentecostal church founded here in Brasil. The theology draws heavily from the Old Testament, particularly the theme of God as King and spiritual warfare. The church also draws upon the Prosperity Gospel. During the presentation, students commented on syncretistic practices that draw from some of the other religions here (such as Candomblé and Umbanda and Catholicism). Interestingly enough, some of the post-grad students are studying this church to suggest that this church is so different from Orthodox Christianity that it is actually a new religion. It would be more or less the same status as Mormonism in the US. Here in São Paulo they are constructing a temple to be an accurate replica of the Temple of Solomon on the outside.
A very interesting observation arose from the presentation on the Universal Church of the Kingdom of God. The class was significantly more critical of this service than of any other presented
Then, there are the practicums. We were divided into four groups and given a service to plan. The first group performed a baptism and communion service. My group performed a wedding ceremony. The third group performed a funeral. And the final group will perform a service of Gratitude (truly, it is a thanksgiving service, but not in the American history-legend of Thanksgiving sense of Thanksgiving)
More to come as the adventure continues...Grace and peace friends!