The highlight of the week for me was making new friendships and deepening others. As we debriefed on Friday morning, I expressed my appreciation to my classmates. As always, I learned as much from their keen observations (and frequent objections to my assertions) as I did from the texts and the instructor. They all participated with enthusiasm and helped me think about things in new ways. I love being in small groups like that, where you can really engage with each other and the instructor.
I think that one stereotype we might have about monks is that they are introverts. For the most part I think this is a fairly accurate perception. That is not to say that they are unfriendly or that this is a negative thing. I just think that many of them are a little shy. But once you get to know them, they are exceptionally warm and interesting. I liked ever monk I met.
Another highlight was a great talk I had with my friend Trish. We talked in depth about the things going on and after being in class together for 9 months, the talk really deepened our friendship. She's an extraordinary person and her family is so lucky to have her as part of their lives -- and she sure does love them!
One of the junior monks, Brother Gregory, and I got to be good friends as well. We had a few nice talks. It was a pleasant reminder that in spite of a few theological differences, Christians all have a lot in common. It's like our religious DNA is 99.5% exactly the same, and the .5% of difference, while enough to justify different denominations, is relatively inconsequential.