Thursday, January 26, 2012

A Good Theologian is a Lover of God…

A great theologian is a lover of life.
ISP students on the porch of the TTS guesthouse
This statement is true of the theologians at Tamil Nadu Theological Seminary, otherwise known as TTS. As you might have read here, the ISPers spent their weekend in the city of Madurai. In addition to visiting the distinguished Meenakshi Temple, they visited several projects that TTS students are involved in, including a home for abandoned women and a home for children infected with HIV/AIDS. The structure of this seminary is incredibly unique in that the students spend their first and fourth years on campus, in the classrooms, and their second and third years off campus, living in the slums and living in a village. The seminary also employs “differently abled” people on their campus to help run their book printing facility.
ISP students visiting with the grampas!
It is evident that this community is filled with great theologians. Their actions reflect a deep understanding of what it means to love life, particularly as a gift from God. The people who benefit from the service projects are those who are neglected, ignored, and mistreated by the majority or society. They are often hopeless and destitute, having been abandoned by those who ought to be caring for them. They are the faceless and the nameless. They are the elderly with no one to support them, the women who have been abused, and the children who are infected.
Some of the women at the vocational rehabilitation center.
They are the people who the ISPers do not often see on a daily basis, both back home and here in India. Hannah Brown had this to say about the weekend:

“I really enjoyed the visits to the service projects, in fact, I wish we could have stayed longer. Everyone at the seminary was welcoming and friendly. It was great to see that they want their students to get hands on experience and practically apply what they’ve learned. Also, through this trip I feel as though we were able to expand our view of India. We were taken outside of Coimbatore and we were able to see more of what the common Indian experiences.”
A sweet face!
The group learned, enjoyed, and experienced. More importantly, though, the group was challenged. Their understanding of what it means to be a student and a servant was deepened. Their perceptions of the nameless and the faceless were altered. And they were challenged in what it means to be a Christian in a cross-cultural context. This is only the beginning. 
Playing on the swings on Sunday at the home for HIV and AIDS orphans
Photos and words both by Celiz Aguilar, our ISP Social Media Intern for the Spring '12 semester! Look forward to more posts and insights by Celiz throughout the semester. We're glad to have her on board to help tell the story of this spring semester, especially from her student perspective.

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