Sunday, July 15, 2012

I Love the Weekend

I pray a lot.
This morning, the Lived Religion class and myself took another study trip. This time, it was to a predominantly African American church called Watson Grove Missionary Baptist Church. I was very excited for this trip, because I've never been to a church where there is gospel singing. I knew before-hand that a church like this was going to have a lot of passion, flare, and a whole lot of "hallelujahs". Partially, I was correct. Nonetheless, I was still utterly amazed by the fervor in all of the church people's hearts and voices.

The sense of community in Watson Grove was, no doubt, extremely present. Coming in, I was not just greeted by friendly handshakes--like the people from the synagogue--but hugs as well. Not being afraid to just shout and praise God really showed their boldness--that they could care less what others thought about their arms raised in the air as high as can be. Everyone at the end of the service held hands as people were being blessed, and you could really feel the passion and yearning for God in their hearts. Many parts of the two hour service nearly made me cry, but I think I was holding the tears a back a little. I could just tell that many of the people in this congregation have been through a lot in their lives, and to see them at a church to always make sure to be close to God, was just very  uplifting to me.

The sermon was my favorite part. The pastor, being very young, was surprisingly much better than I thought he would be. It's not that I didn't think the sermon was going to be good; he is just very young (late 20's-early 30's). The zeal in his voice was undeniable. His analogies to the word of God were so creative and made so much sense to me--and especially to the people in the church. He spoke about what outreach really means. Outreach isn't bringing people to church; it's bringing the church to them. He mentioned that you can't be afraid of taking risks and getting out of your comfort zone. The way he spoke and presented himself at the podium was almost as if he was performing a spoken word poem. His sermon kept climaxing, until eventually, he started to sing, and that's when you knew that the sermon was over. I'll most definitely go to a church like this one again back at home sometimes. It was way too fun, and it made me feel very pumped up after leaving.

Anyway, I guess my wish came true today, because it was a beautiful, partly cloudy day! It was great, because this time no rain was going to stop our Sunday excursions. I went to the Frist Art Museum, where the special exhibits were quilts. Honestly, most of the art was either creepy or very amateur looking, which made my friends and I wonder how pieces of art like these made it into an art museum. I couldn't take any pictures, but I was able to in the kid's section of the museum. That part was definitiely the most interactive and hands-on, so here's a picture of my dream home--made of blocks--with my two friends, Elizabeth and Amber.

A church along Broadway
Well, we only stayed an hour there, so the museum was still very entertaining. The rest of our time in downtown was devoted to just exploring Broadway. I passed by plenty of restaurants and bars with live music, and of course, we just had to stop for some ice cream at Mike's Ice Cream Fountain. I tried an ice cream called "Super Hero", which was very--well I guess--normal tasting. At the end of the road, there is a beautiful view of the river, the Tennessee Titans stadium, and the bridge. The beautiful sky was a great bonus. 

The "Batman" Building and the beautiful sky
Along Broadway

Behind me, to the right, is the Tennessee Titans stadium.

Coming back from our excursions, it was free-time in Hank Ingram House. My friend, Eric, and I wanted to freestyle rap battle. Eventually, more people wanted to hang with us, without realizing what circle they were entering--a rap circle. Soon enough, the rap battling ended, and we played a variety of games like "Never Have I Ever" and a very fun game called Mafia. That much free-time today with friends was a great reliever from everything, and we shared so many laughs.

It was nice to hang out with a different circle of friends and meet more new people. Perhaps I'll know the entire student body of VSA by the end of this program? That would be pretty cool. I just realized I didn't say one word to Hannah or Yessenia today. I said maybe a sentence to Narges. Well, I just hope the girls are doing good without their "lone wolf". Now don't take what I just said the wrong way; I'm glad my cohort and I are being so social and making friends. It's been really fun here.
Alexa, Elizabeth, Amber, and Anna
 Tomorrow, class starts up again. I'm going to play basketball again at the Recreation Center with "the guys" at 6:30 AM; that should be fun. Good night!

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