The morning: after a prayer from Our Daily Bread, I was assigned to a group that met in another room for the first hour's homework review. Our discussion went remarkably smoothly with no awkward questions. In fact, answers were fairly unanimous. Was this merely expediency? Were the troublemakers routed out last year? Where were the warts?
It leaned Stepford: just about everyone had thumb tabs on their Bibles, all were comfortable with the concept of Jesus as savior, nobody questioned whether chapter 1 had actually happened. The brave soul next to me admitted to not having her Catechism; I passed mine between us and let her look on. Entre nous, I believe several are volunteer catechists, the way they talked. But I'll say this: as everyone read from their RSV-CE2's, I followed along in the ESV. Very few differences. Makes perfect sense.
We reunited afterwards for the video. I can't say I remember much. Maybe if they didn't dim the lights so much ... The promise to David in 2 Samuel 7 was familiar from the weekend. I guess he talked about the Mosaic and Davidic covenants, also familiar from the weekend. He explained gematria and related it to Kabbalah, which I don't believe is always necessarily the case. And that Jesus is the "seventh seven," coming after Matthew's six sevens in the genealogy, i.e., three fourteens. He made a fleeting mention of Daniel 9 when talking about the "deportation" to Babylon, saying 70 years wouldn't be enough; it would be "seventy times seven" (I think that's what he said, sounds more like Jesus in the Gospels. Just "coming attractions?") or 490 years (NAB footnote on Daniel 9:24). I got no indication that anyone knew the reference or the significance.
His big point is that, even though many Jews returned to Jerusalem from Babylon in 537, it was centuries later before they returned spiritually. And while I'm familiar with the pertinent passages in Haggai, it's still rather presumptuous to say.
His lecture was Christ-centric; no Hail Mary this week but time was spent articulating Mary's designation as "ever-virgin". Only on this point did my Stepford Wives show their cracks and falter. Gosh, that's the easy one for me. All saying things like, "It's not technically necessary." I couldn't disagree more.
I was distracted by a participant seated catty-corner to me: she jotted down not a single note from the video lecture. She stood out for that.
I stayed in the room over the lunch break and completed next week's homework. Just barely. And I had wanted to preserve some time, to steal a few minutes upstairs in the sanctuary. It doesn't seem possible without sacrificing some of the homework time.
The afternoon: after the same prayer from Our Daily Bread, I was again assigned to a group that met in another room. These were the unwashed ones and Sister was left to deal with us. Almost from the get-go, the awkward questions: why two creation accounts in Genesis? "I'm Catholic 46 years, graduated Catholic school, I didn't know there were two creation accounts!" There are four Gospels too, btw. I wondered whether she had read the Introduction. Ultimately, though, I think we ended on a high note.
Now, on this one, he's more uneven. When he reads from Scripture or Church documents, I'm in agreement. But when he puts what he's just read into his own words, I quibble. How did you draw that out of what you just read? He says Genesis isn't scientific, then five minutes later announces he's a direct descendent of Noah. (And, so, why do Adam and Eve matter exactly? God started over with Noah.) I was offered the audio CD to take with me and maybe I will and have a closer listen. Because I also think he said that Jesus is the Creator. I've heard that assertion from conservative Christians quite a bit lately. I asked Jim about it Thursday during our discussion of the Prologue. It just doesn't sound right and he agreed it could be a little off, depending on what they mean.
But then I'm thinking of that hymn to the Holy Spirit: Come, Holy Ghost, Creator blest, ...