Monday, September 28, 2009

They call it HoFo for short.

So, I'm about a third of my way through Grad School, and so far it's good, although for the life of me I can't justify even the fraction of it that we're funding. But anyhoo. This semester I'm taking the 1-credit class that is required for all the people in my major (do they call it that in grad school?) called Holistic Formation.
I'm not exactly sure what it is. Last week was our first session, and our leader told us a lot of things that it isn't, but never really got around to telling us what it is. All I know is, there are about 8 of us, and we sit in a circle, and last week (seriously) they had us draw a "faith map" on big paper with... crayons.
I have a bad attitude about this.
Part of the requirements for this class is to come up with a spiritual something plan, which includes finding a spiritual director and going on a retreat. I have a wonderful SD whom I've been seeing for over two years now, and have been on more retreats than you can shake a stick at. I'm feeling kind of in pretty good shape spiritually (as in, I'm addressing my spiritual needs currently- not that I'm spiritually perfect). The crayon drawing I dutifully drew last week was one I've done lots of times, with my middle school students. I saw my advisor in the hall after class and complained about it, and she told me to be a "good role model" for the others in the group. Sigh.
It reminded me of the battle I had with a former pastor over requiring the Catholic school students in our parish to attend high school faith formation classes with the "publics." In my opinion, youth ministries MUST have something- something for the kids who attend Catholic school, who take religion class every day. But, at least in that program, sitting through classes for the public school students was no the something. The pastor thought that the CS kids should be in those classes because they would build community, but I suspected that they'd be so resentful about having to be there after studying theology in school each day that they wouldn't be very open to building community. The pastor suggested that maybe the CS kids could be great role models in the classes, serving as mini-teachers. I doubted that they would be happy with this conscripted service, especially after paying a registration fee.
I thought that the Catholic School kids deserved programming that was designed to suit their particular needs and stage, and I would have gotten around to that if I'd been able to stay at that parish longer than I was. But in the meantime, I thought it was better not to force them through a program that would only build resentment of the Church.
Now I'm feeling like one of those Catholic school kids. But I guess I have no choice, I will muddle through and earn my one measly credit and wear down every crayon they give me. But I'm not gonna like it!


HerMajesty00 said...

It stinks when you are trying to cram in a million thigns into your day and you are stuck with a 'have to' that wastes time.
Is there a way you can do this as an independant study or get assignments that go deeper than what is being offered in the class?
I once talked a prof into not having to attend reg. class (Was US History up to and including the Civil War.)except to take the tests. He and I met once a week and went deeper into the area of study. (In this case it was Jefferson) It took a while to talk him into it but I really really wanted to learn and the class was too basic.
It could be possible although you will have to step lightly as you say the class is too basic, without insulting the prof! good luck

CatholicWizKid said...

Uh oh. I fear that I helped give you a "bad attitude" going in.
At the end of HoFo, they asked us to go around and share what we got out of it. Everyone had really fluffy things to say. Then it came to me. I said I felt... angry. You know, I had an awful first year in Boston, and I said I was angry with what the graduate program had turned out to be, and I was angry that I felt so wrong and alone in a program full of ministers, and I was angry that I was being asked to feel a certain way at certain times. I was angry at Boston and how foreign and cold it felt. And I was angry that I was not allowed to be feeling angry at that moment.
It was so strange. That was probably the only time I have talked like that in front of a group of people, and certainly the only time I had really talked about my feelings in touchy-feely HoFo. Everyone looked a little stunned, but I was expecting angry or scornful looks in return, and there were not. They also did not try to talk to me about it, which I would have hated. They all just kind of accepted what I said like it was just there to be said.
So... in a way HoFo did what it was supposed to, though not in the way that it was "supposed to" do it. And I learned humility and that I had to be weak sometimes. Obviously something I am still learning.
Yeah, I hated the class, but the Holy Spirit was working even in HoFo. But yeah, you already know that.

flodlogic said...

Rather than a "major", dont't they call it a "discipline" at the grad level? Think about that!