Last Sunday was the first of a series of three Sunday morning adult education classes here at First Central on the atonement. Last year some folk from the class asked me to teach a class on the atonement. I spent six months preparing, reading lots of books, and developing a study guide. Then I set it aside for a few months between my preparations and when the class was scheduled. I've been looking forward to it, but on Sunday I did a poor job of presenting.
Now, there is an explanation. I came to the office early that morning to prepare for the day. I came so early I set off the alarm (I've never figured out how to disarm it here). Then, I got to work looking back over my sermon, as I usually do first every Sunday morning. It was not a long sermon, and I thought I'd be done quickly. I ended up revising it over three more drafts, which took the entirety of my prep time. I was running late for the class when I grabbed my things and headed that way, with no chance to review the lesson I had prepared earlier in the week.
My mind was distracted and quickly I realized that even my presentation was not laid out in the most engaging or interesting way. And I was fielding a wide variety of questions, which is normally the case here, but I wasn't as centered in answering them as I normally am.
One person asked a logical question of concern about the ancient notion of divinization and whether it was "new age." I responded more defensively than I should have. On afterthought I should have used that moment to play with the idea and open up dialogue about what this idea might mean. Instead, that would have been a tangent from my plans, so I answered hurriedly and inadequately and moved on.
I've already prepared my lesson for the class this week and think that I've done a better job of structuring it around the concerns and questions that might be raised. But the inadequate job I did last week led me back to some basics and thinking intentionally about some things that I often just assume, so I learned a lesson.