I'm a huge fan of education. Like in a big way. Clearly, I would never have endured the lunacy of getting a doctoral degree if I didn't feel a deep commitment to the educational process for better or worse...and it IS sheer madness to even wade into these dark and dreadful academic waters (anyone who tells you differently is trying to get you to apply to their doctoral program). My love of education is not about the degrees that ensue or the letters I find strung behind my name like some unintelligible caboose at the end of a train.
For me, love of education is about the romancing of ideas. It's about giving luxurious space to birth and nurture thoughts that otherwise would never had made themselves present. It's about finding ideas crammed into pages of books and nestled into conversations with classmates. It's for the experience of knowledge, and not just amassing knowledge, but learning how to use knowledge as the fuel for creativity and world changing.
March brought with it some amazingness as I traveled with two pastor-sages to attend and take part in the opening of our brand new training/educational center in Mozambique, specifically in an area void of educational opportunities. The Gondola Training Center (GTC) officially opened it's doors on March 6th after years of preparation, building, dreaming, and scheming. The idea is for this to be a place where people who are already leading our church communities can come for leadership development and basic education in microfinance, sustainability, agriculture, theology, and discipleship. Most people who will attend will have little more than a basic, primary education, but are also tasked with the enormous responsibility of leadership. It's a once in a lifetime opportunity for them to gather for the sole purpose of education.
These two amazing women with whom I traveled taught week-long workshops to the first cohort of students to ever walk through the front doors of the GTC. These women are both brilliant and spirit-filled, and they taught with humble fervor. Rev. Kim Jenne has a mind like a steal trap and is deeply committed to bringing theology to life in a holistic way. She sees God in the details and points out the Divine in the nooks and crannies of every day life. Rev. Jenn Klein is a prayer guru - a taller, female, guitar-toting equivalent of Yoda, enveloped in spirit. She teaches that prayer is not something that we do, it is something that we are. We spent a week exchanging ideas, two pastors leading the courses, while the Mozambican students taught us more than we thought possible. It is my hope that we, together, can take this knowledge that was shared, allow it to take root and grow, and then use it to go out and move the world.