Because life is a series of edits

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.

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