Because life is a series of edits

Archive for November, 2005|Monthly archive page

Prayer Poems

In Thought on November 27, 2005 at 11:49 am

Learner and the family spent a few days on the farm for Thanksgiving and had a relaxing, thankful time. They came back yesterday (Saturday) to get a running start on what could be one of their roughest academic weeks at seminary so far.

Aided (to some degree) by the fact that they have a few sick kids as of last night, they stayed home from church this morning and, perhaps somewhat guiltily, are enjoying the day at home.

One of the projects Learner is working on is his prayer poem book. Here are a few “masterpieces” (said smirkily with much sarcasm):

Depending on My Theology
Depending on my theology
God is sovereign or He’s biased
God is good or He’s absent
God allows or He’s dead

Depending on my theology
God observes or He’s deaf
God knows or He’s behind
God causes or He’s retired

Depending on my theology
God was or He wasn’t
God is or He isn’t
God is to come or He’s already left the building

Depending on my theology
my theology may not be the best thing to depend on

Prayer Haiku
It’s learning to breathe
Then learning to forget how
This is prayer to me

So he’s no Whitman, but he’s trying…and having fun in the process.


Weather That Matches His Temperament

In Thought on November 15, 2005 at 11:23 am

Learner awoke this morning to the sound of rain. He walked to class with no umbrella or complaints. While others scurried around and scrunched down, Learner happily walked from building to building, marveling how people get freaked out by overcast skies and rain.

“This is weather that matches my temperament, so I feel right at home,” he says. “It’s just too bad I have to study and can’t get out and enjoy it more.”

Release the Beast Within

In Thought on November 13, 2005 at 6:41 pm

A month ago, Learner and a fellow student (Tom, pictured above) had the idea to finance their seminary experience with a new beer based on the Greek word “thaerion” (spelled here phoenetically), which translates to “beast” in English.

As Learner was looking for an excuse not to study this weekend, and Tom (who is all things Italian, hence the map above) was over for a movie, they stayed up late designing a bottle label for their beer.

Now if only they had an actual product to sell…

Anybody Got a Rubber Room?

In Thought on November 11, 2005 at 3:45 pm

It’s beginning to hit the proverbial fan for Learner as, in addition to the same glorious/ridiculous amounts of required weekly reading, he can look forward to the following projects over the next month:

– Reading and completing an 8 page paper on D.A. Carson’s Exegetical Fallacies for Greek in Exegesis (due Nov. 23rd)

– Researching and writing a 10-12 page hermeneutical process paper for Covenant Theology (due Dec. 2nd)

– Completing an exegetical notebook on Ephesians 1-4 for Greek in Exegesis (due Dec. 8th)

– Researching and writing a 10-12 page exegetical paper on Matthew 5:17-19 for Greek in Exegesis (due Dec. 12th)

– Writing and designing a prayer book of original poetry for Theology of Prayer (due Dec. 12th)

– Researching and writing a 8-10 page theology of ministry paper for Spiritual and Ministry Formation (due Dec. 12th)

Exams run Dec. 13th-19th.

Learner’s psychotherapy begins Dec. 20th.

Recipe for Disaster

In Thought on November 10, 2005 at 3:24 pm

From Learner’s readings in Covenant Theology class:

“Think of a doctrine. Double it with variant interpretations. Divide by denominational distinctives. Add some technical jargon. Subtract any practical relevance. Finally take away the doctrine you first thought of, and what are you left with? Probably the sum of the average theological student’s awareness of the relation between his theological study and the mission of the church.”

– Christopher J.H. Wright in Themelios 15.2 (1990), p. 39

Learner’s Top Ten Seminary Lessons (So Far)

In Thought on November 4, 2005 at 3:22 pm

Another week, come and gone. I haven’t written much this past week as Learner has been fairly preoccupied with catching up from fall break last weekend (Thursday-Sunday). Thankfully, with the exception of having to diagram a passage in Greek and cramming for two quizzes, the bulk of the work has been of the reading and highlighting type (Learner’s favorite, followed closely by writing essays of any sort). As a result, he’s just about caught up.

Earlier today, we were talking about what he’s learning in the midst of his seminary experience so far. As the conversation was interesting, I asked him if I could take notes for my project here. While he still rolls his eyes at the premise of me (or anyone else) being interested, he agreed.

Here’s what I wrote down:

1. It’s been far too long since Learner has read (and read about) the Old Testament, particularly the exodus narrative. The power and significance of all that, he says, must have been almost too much to behold then, as it seems sometimes almost too much to believe now. But he does, and he’s glad he does.

2. He has been guilty of an amazingly convincing type of individualistic evangelicalism and feels like he now must work very, very hard to even begin to read the Scriptures with more of its communal mentality in mind. He’s not mad at anyone about this (himself in particular), but the question of how he missed it all these many years haunts him.

3. As he always says he has, Learner likes Reformed theology a lot, but says it scares him how smart some of the men (from the early church fathers to his current professors) were/are in crafting and communicating it. They make sense…and that scares him a bit.

4. At the same time (and perhaps in ambitious arrogance), he wonders what part in the ongoing thought and discussion of these ideas he might play now and in the future? Learner doesn’t understand how he can love all this “stuff” (as he calls it) so much when he feels so comparatively inept in handling it.

5. It’s not like it’s a surprise, but he’s come to the conclusion that he “sucks” (whatever that means) at biblical languages. While he can be a bit hard on himself, there is some evidence for his claim (i.e. failing his Greek mid-term with a score of 62%).

6. Every thought (great, awful, or otherwise) has been said or written by someone else a dozen times over throughout the course of history. What, Learner wonders, was he originally thinking when he thought he was originally thinking?

7. It’s taken a long time (and it’s still a long road to hoe), but he might barely be beginning to understand the idea of responding to God’s grace rather than trying to earn it. Stay tuned.

8. Learner wishes everyone could experience seminary, but he also realizes not everyone would want to because of all the reading, writing, thinking, and studying involved. He’s okay with that, though in a way, he says, it makes him a little sad.

9. He’s discovered that professors have more to do than just teach and write books, but strangely, most of them want to do more than just teach and write books; in other words, they care for their students. This surprises Learner, as just when he thought he might not be “geek” enough for the job, he now wonders if he might be too much.

10. Finally, the theme/goal of Learner’s seminary experience (thus far, at least) seems to be to have no pride left to swallow by the time he’s through (if, indeed, he makes it through). He says he’s not there yet, but the progression has certainly been in this direction.