Wednesday, June 01, 2005
I arrived back from my time in Poland last night, having thoroughly enjoyed my time there. I got to meet a few old friends and acquaintances and made a number of new ones. I attended a conference organized by a small group of Reformed churches, with James Jordan as the speaker. The lectures were on the subject of Wisdom Literature and were very thought-provoking and insightful, as one would expect. I made extensive notes; perhaps I will share some of them on this blog sometime over the next few weeks. I must say, it was a strange feeling to be sitting around a Polish campfire drinking vodka with one of my favourite theologians! I had a number of opportunities to talk to James Jordan and his wife, Brenda, over the conference period and afterwards. Having met Jordan in person I will find it hard to read his material in the same way again; memories of his pig impersonations and mock German belly laughs will always intrude. When we returned from the conference we visited my friend Sebastian's home town of Trzebnica. We visited the basilica and walked around the town for a while. One thing that continually struck me during my time in Poland was the hold that Roman Catholicism has upon the nation. The Roman Catholicism in Poland is also quite different from the forms of Roman Catholicism that are more common in the US and UK. I spent the last few days of my stay in Wrocław (pronounced more like VROTS-WAV than ROCK-LAW), which is the capital of Lower Silesia. Wrocław is a beautiful city, full of imposing buildings and culture. I was able to see quite a bit of the city on Monday. On the Monday evening Sebastian and I had just purchased some drinks from a stand when the wind suddenly began to pick up. We took shelter in the doorway of the Centenary Hall as the strongest wind I have ever experienced picked up the stand and threw it into a large hedge. A large drinks dispenser was overturned, as was the grill. Some of the flaming coals were thrown in our direction. We sheltered there for quite some time, out of the worst of the wind and rain. All the lights went out and the trams stopped. When we were finally able to walk back there were large trees uprooted throughout the city. We later found that three people had been killed in the storm. During my time I was able to do a little reading. I finally got around to finishing reading Brian McLaren's A Generous Orthodoxy, which I found quite disappointing. I read most of Yoder's Body Politics and Wolfe's Soldier of the Mist and began reading Hauerwas' Against the Nations. Today I feel exhausted, so I will probably take things a bit easier before I return to work tomorrow. I hope to start posting some material on the subject of singleness sometime over the next few days.