Because life is a series of edits

Archive for April, 2006|Monthly archive page

On Student Counciling

In Thought on April 28, 2006 at 11:25 am

Big day today as Learner turned in his Greek translations for Gospels class and is about to turn in his 10-page paper on New Testament Use of the Old Testament for Covenant Theology. This weekend will find him hunkered down to crank out a sermon on Philippians 2:12-18 for Monday, editing his God & Humanity team essay for Thursday, and possibly beginning his 10-page paper for Apologetics & Outreach (due in ten days or so). From there, it’s three finals and the spring semester is complete.

In other news, Learner was nominated and elected by his class to be the male student council representative (or the “Middler Rep” as he’s now being called). This morning was his first official meeting, bringing past and future councils together for a baton handing off and the outcome was, well, slightly underwhelming. Part of it might have been that Learner had higher expectations (when was the last time that happened?); part of it might have been that he overslept and woke up a whole 10 minutes before the meeting was to start.

Most probably, the reason for his blahness was simply that he hates being looked at as a rookie in any context. He confessed to having flashbacks of last summer, to meeting a bunch of people he didn’t know (or who knew him), and to feeling like just another body in the room (“cow in the chute” was his exact remark), and he’s surprised he still gets bothered by this feeling it, that is both having it as well as realizing he’s having it.

While he’s excited to have actually been voted in, and is eager to try to make a difference (the difference perhaps being to somehow justify to the campus body that student council actually does something for seminary students – he’s heard others wondering that a lot), he says he is somewhat concerned that this is going to end just being a big time suck with little return on his investment.

One week of classes left…and then finals…and then a break…and then (gulp) Hebrew…


Monday, Monday

In Thought on April 17, 2006 at 8:33 am

Enjoyable Easter yesterday as the family went to church, took naps, watched baseball, and had some friends over for a tasty dinner that Mrs. Learner worked all weekend to prepare. The evening wrapped up with some reading and a movie, not to mention a fair amount of clean up. Good time had by all.

Learner just emailed to say that he was the first one in the library this morning when it opened. With no classes today because of Easter and several important projects (Covenant Theology paper, second sermon for Homiletics, Apologetics letter, Greek translation work, etc.) all due in the next three weeks, today is the first day of the rest of his semester, he says.

He also remarked that he wonders what would happen to a majority of published Reformed Christian scholarship if the city of Grand Rapids, Michigan (and its many academic publishers) were wiped off the face of the earth? Seems like every book and commentary he consulted on Saturday had some kind of connection to Grand Rapids. Guess the Dutch have a few things to say about Reformed theology.

Saturday Update

In Thought on April 15, 2006 at 3:17 pm

Learner said the movie last night was good. He didn’t cry like he thought he would, but he did say he was moved despite his lack of tears. And, he’s looking forward to Easter morning service tomorrow.

For those of you who were following Learner’s pseudo-saga from this past week, here’s an update:

Hebrew – he got in the class with the “great” professor and is quite relieved

Rest of schedule – all worked out remarkably well for Learner to be able to teach the classes at the local school (now all he needs is to be offered the actual job)

Other school – they called; thanks, but no thanks (something to do with not having a degree in the particular class Learner applied for…details, details)

Gospels exam – the bad news: Learner got a 72; the good news: because of the curve, that ended up being a B

Bonus update: God & Humanity paper – 94, a pleasant surprise

Mrs. Learner – they seem to be back on track, but it was a long road to hoe; finances still an issue (like that’s a newsflash)

More as I have it. In the meantime, Easter tomorrow!

Good Friday

In Thought on April 14, 2006 at 9:54 am

From a recent bookstore promotional email:

“Easter is a gateway to spring’s splendor – a time to pack away your sweaters, open the house to afternoon breezes, and dream about the possibilities of the season ahead.”

From Matthew 26:27:

“Then he (Pilate) released for them Barabbas, and having scourged Jesus, delivered him to be crucified.”

Thinking of the two statements above, Learner says he finds it interesting how differently we think of Easter these days. Of course, the two sentences are not mutually exclusive (indeed, he and Mrs. Learner have packed away their sweaters and enjoy an afternoon breeze as much as the next person), but he’s uncomfortable with how comfortable he and the rest of our culture (and often the Church) can be in thinking about Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection.

Tonight, he and Mrs. Leearner are planning to watch The Passion of the Christ for the first time. Apparently, they’ve owned the movie since it came out in 2004, but Learner has not had the courage to ever watch it. Being a little squeamish in general (any kind of television surgery – real or representative – freaks him out), he never felt up to witnessing the brutality of crucifixion in detail. But he says it’s more than not wanting to watch graphic physical torture that has kept him from viewing the movie these past several years. And, it’s not (only) because at the time of the movie’s release, everyone and their dog went to see the movie and he didn’t for the principle of it.

No, more than squeamishness or self-righteousness, Learner says the thought that “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16) has always been his stumbling block. He’s part of this world that God loves. And that makes him part of why Jesus was crucified.

So tonight, he’ll watch. And it will be extremely difficult, he says, but not just because an actor depicting Jesus will appear to be physically tortured. Rather, the difficulty according to Learner will be in realizing anew that Christ’s crucifixion (one of the most documented historical facts in all of antiquity) was for the sin of the world, which (thankfully, mercifully) includes all of his.

The celebration of life at Easter time goes beyond the fact the calendar says it’s Spring. Friday’s here…but Sunday’s a’comin’…

Happy Easter.

Holy Pre-Registration, Batman

In Thought on April 10, 2006 at 12:52 pm

Holy Week is not getting off to the best of starts, largely because it’s a semi-official occasion/recognized calendar event, and these always add pressure that makes Learner feel like he should be doing something different in his life as a result. Unfortunately, Learner doesn’t really feel like he’s doing anything different (fasting, praying, etc.) than he wouldn’t do any other week, so he’s frustrated with himself. This compulsion, he says, is why he hates holidays – the sense of expectation he places on himself just eats his lunch.

On another front, today is when Learner is due to pre-register for his next year of classes. Several anxieties are playing havoc with his head, primarily who he’s going to get for Hebrew (the word on campus is that one prof is great; the other, well, not so great). As Learner is poor at languages, who the teacher is could make an enormous difference in his success/failure, and he’s envisioning going in today at 5 p.m. for his scheduled appointment and being told that the guy before him got the last slot with the good prof.

Other scheduling complications include trying to set a schedule that incorporates the hours from a possible local teaching opportunity that he hasn’t even applied for (The Renaissance Man is the link on this one). In addition, the other school to which Learner has applied to teach next year won’t return his email or voicemail, so he’s unclear as to even what the schedule might be there, let alone whether or not he’ll even get an interview at all.

To top it off, Learner is due to get his Gospels exam back sometime today, and this is not helping his patience today. Whether he did well or not, he just wants to know; it’s the waiting that kills him.

Finally, he and Mrs. Learner had a discussion/disagreement last night about the topic that always sets him off – money – and he’s in a bit of a funk over that. When Mrs. Learner asked him why he was so upset, Learner tried to explain his mentality that, if things are so tough for them, how much worse it must be for so many millions/billions of others who are so worse off. This, he said, is why money bothers him so much – he feels so helpless to do anything of significance in his own situation, let alone for those who need it more than he does (i.e. those who won’t eat this week), that he just wants to give up.

I told him that wouldn’t be a good idea as he would then leave me with no new material to blog.

“Great, Tychicus” he said. “Another opportunity to let someone down.”


Potty-Training Application

In Thought on April 5, 2006 at 1:14 pm

This morning, Mrs. Learner took the two younger ones to the seminary’s one-day-a-week on-site childcare while she ran errands with the older two.

On his way home from class, Learner met them all coming home. His youngest (who is two and almost potty-trained) had on her back a sticker handwritten by Mrs. Learner that said, “Ask me to go potty, please.”

Learner said he smiled at both the message and the child’s unawareness of the request for help in something she was still learning how to do. He then wondered briefly how his own sticker(s) might read. I offered these suggestions:

“Ask me to not be so obsessive-compulsive when it comes to assigned readings, please.”

“Ask me to be less insecure about what people think of me at most hours of the day, please.”

“Ask me to learn to take a compliment and not always turn it into a joke, please.”

“Ask me to be more gracious and not judge others, please.”

“Ask me to love my wife and family more, please.”

“Ask me to stop believing it’s all about me, please.”

“Ask me to pray, please.”

Learner didn’t think my suggestions were all that funny.

Applicable, yes; funny, no.