As far as fun things to do during my reading week, we plan on going to the Shedd Aquarium (it's free admission the whole week!) and maybe go check our Navy Pier. Even though we sometimes get overwhelmed here in Chicago, it is nice to always have options for fun cheap things to do.
On another note, I am going to try to start writing something every post that I've learned here that applies to ministry in Alaska. So today I'll write about baptism. In Bush Alaska, most villages have a "Christian" culture. What I mean is most people in the village would identify themselves as Christians. Would most identify Christ as their Savior and Lord? Perhaps not. So how can you tell in a Christian culture who is really a follower of Christ and who isn't? Certainly church attendence is one good indicator, but not fool-proof. Which brings me to baptism. Some churches are better than others, but in general, I think most Covenant churches in Bush Alaska don't give enough time to baptism. Furthermore, I think baptism needs to become a more serious matter, as it was in the early church. In the early days of Christianity, if you wanted to be baptized, often you had to tell the church prior to the season Lent. Then all 40 days throughout Lent you would meet with a priest and study key passages in the Bible concerning what and why Christians believe what they believe. During the final week, you would meet twice with the priest. Finally, during Easter, you would have the chance to publicly declare your faith in the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. You would walk backwards into the baptismal pool, be baptized, then literally turn your body as your turn from your old life and walk forward and celebrate your rebirth in Christ. Now I'm not suggesting that Bush Alaska adopts all of these practices, but maybe some of them adapted to the culture would really be a significant time to develop true followers of Christ. What exactly would that look like? I leave you with that thought.