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January 11, 2005: Passion and the heart

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A month or two ago my mom made an offhand comment that the Disciple Board was looking for people to help write some new curriculum. Since I actually enjoy writing, I noted that I'd be interested in getting involved. I didn't think much of it until late December, when I got an email from my mom, with the subject line 'Careful what you wish for'. Turns out that the board was thrilled to have a layperson actually volunteer to take part, so even though I've absolutely no curriculum writing experience at all, somehow they decided to include me anyway.

The kick-off workshop was the past two days. All of us writers drove (or flew) in to Sacramento and met at the conference offices. It was more than a little unnerving to be sitting in this room, surrounded by mostly clergy and not just regular clergy, but clergy with multiple publications under their belt. There I was, just a little layperson, and while I've done a pile of writing in my day, somehow technical manuals, white papers, and magazine articles aren't quite the same.

I wasn't quite sure what to expect, and it did take them a while to get around to what they were looking for. But by the end of the sessions yesterday evening I knew what I was supposed to do, and I could see I wasn't the only one itching to go back to the hotel and get started.

They put us all up in a hotel for the night, figuring that having a place with no distractions would help us get the ball rolling, and they were, of course, right. I stayed up pretty late last night scribbling madly, trying to get a sense of how to put all my ideas into a six-day structure. I'd been worried I'd have nothing at all, but it turns out I managed to churn out pages of notes. Not, mind you, that most of those will be useful for the final product, but at least I felt as if I'd managed to come up with something cohesive.

Today you could almost feel the energy in the room. We all went around the table and talked about what we'd come up with. The guy who tends to focus on the more academic was assigned the week which focuses on the brain of Christ, and even though we all agreed he was probably giving the students far too much to do each day, we also all decided we wanted to take that week's class right then. The woman who seemed to wear her heart on her sleeve (and I don't mean that to be mean, but rather to note that she was so very full of life and love and energy) was assigned the week focusing on the heart of Christ and the subjects she came up with took our breath away. I went through my notes, and the room was full of positive feedback and suggestions.

We've all headed home now, with several weeks to finish up the project. Ultimately this will become a six-week class for adults, planned for introduction at this year's Annual Conference. I am still more than a little overwhelmed by being surrounded by all those amazing people for the last two days, and feeling more than a little undeserving to be in the same project with them. But I'm excited about my topic since it's rather near and dear to my heart. I know that my part, of all of them, will need far more feedback and help, since I don't have the theological training and background the rest of them have. But that's okay. It was an amazing experience and maybe, if this actually works out, one of these days I'll get to do it again.

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