I’ve always thought of Garfield and myself as kindred spirits. The aversion to working out, the passion for food, the ongoing battle with spiders—all of these things accurately describe both of us. A hatred of Mondays was another thing we had in common, until I started my routine as a Nashville Fellow.
Though I can’t really complain about any of my days spent as a Fellow, Mondays have quickly become my favorite. Let me walk you through what my typical Monday now looks like:
From 8AM until 10AM, the other fellows and I learn about and discuss various sections of the Old Testament. A selection of wise teachers rotates throughout the semester, and so far each one has held our attention effortlessly. Yes, it’s early in the morning, but it’s a good group of peers to be sitting with, and what we’re being taught is challenging our assumptions and growing our ability to think critically—and yet faithfully—about the Word of God. At the end of our Old Testament class, we get a 15-minute break during which we usually spew our excitement over what we just talked about (and get more coffee, naturally).
Next on our schedule is a Practical Theology class, starting at 11:15 AM. We are blessed by yet another distinguished speaker, who leads us in analysis of some topical essay or book we’ve read. So far, we’ve explored what true Christian community looks like in Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s Life Together, and talked about the relationship between personal faith and the institutional church from Scott Sauls’ Christianity Outside the Lines. This is a time when we get to examine our own beliefs and convictions, while also being exposed to the well-thought-out views of our peers and teachers. I think it’s so special to be able to develop our thoughts on these complex topics in a safe and supportive atmosphere.
To end the morning, we lunch with a leader in the local Nashville community (read: a local celebrity/superstar). As this individual shares their story with us, and any advice they have, I am always again struck by how many people are willing to support, teach, and encourage us as part of this unique program.
The afternoon is ours, but at 6 PM we gather for an especially sacred space: Round Table Dinners. At Round Table Dinners, we are inarguably a family. A few of us cook every week, and there is an abundance of flavors, conversation, laughter, and games. This semester, every Monday means a new narrative from one fellow. After eating, we listen as one of our peers describes their journey thus far. This is an opportunity to invest deeply in one another, whether we are the ones sharing, or the ones actively listening. Thus our Mondays end on a sweet note, with all of us having much to contemplate over the next six days.
If the Fellows Initiative is about “starting well” after college, Mondays in Nashville are about “starting well” every single week.