Portland continues on for me (Kevin), as I have 2 1/2 days left of inductive Bible study. It has been tiring and I'm ready to get back home to be with Leah.
Class time last week was with professor Jason Clark of England. He is a Vineyard pastor in the emergent conversation, but he stands back from the conversation with very healthy criticism as well. I learned a lot about how to do church from him, and it restructured some ideological paradigms that I had.
What I took most from him however, was our potential future context and religion. He mentioned how when people invite members of his congregation to do something and there is a church event, likely the person will say, "No, I have something else planned," (thinking they are going to church). "Oh yeah? What?", the parishoner's friend asks. "Oh, something," is the response. Did you catch that the parishoner was ashamed of going to church. Actually going to church in his context in London is pretty tough, so tough that it is easier to be misleading about it than to say, "I'm going to church," and deal with the pressure that comes.
What an extreme situation, no?
But wait, religious apathy is prevalent throughout all Europe it seems, and Spain will be of little difference. I came to realize that my brothers and sisters who I will befriend and join into community will likely have a hard time with their Christian identity. That also shapes my identity. Another hard aspect is the fact that to be Protestant in Spain is tougher than being religious.
Despite the realization of how difficult our community will be, I was more encouraged. The Lord has blessed Jason Clark's church and continues to bless his ministry. I know He is with ministries in Spain as well.