Because life is a series of edits

Archive for the ‘Seminary Tychicus’ Category

Riding the Short Bus

In Seminary Tychicus on October 31, 2005 at 9:01 am

From Learner’s write-up for Spiritual and Ministry Formation class:

“On page 85 of Children of the Living God, author Sinclair Ferguson asks, ‘Have you ever seen a well-adjusted family cope with a brother or sister who is physically or mentally retarded? It is deeply moving to watch the mixture of special discipline and grace that makes such a family member not only belong, but actually be treated as special in the family circle. So it should be in the family of God.’

My own experience resonates with Ferguson’s observation of what the family of God should be like. More times than I can count, I have been the retarded family member in need of special discipline and grace – for my inabilities, for my lack of self-control, for my need for help and attention. Fortunately, I have been around many (and am married to one) who choose to “cope” with me despite my special needs, for I can be hard to live with and to love.

While the first five chapters of Ferguson’s book did little for me overall, I can’t get this illustration of the special needs family out of my head; it is a powerful and personal idea of what God is and what his family is to be. I need to pray for more of a heart to cope with others and their own special needs, just as God and so many others do and have done for me. After all, when it comes to maturity, I’ve been riding the short bus most of my life.”

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How to Make the Sadist Greek Professor Laugh

In Seminary Tychicus on October 25, 2005 at 6:43 pm

This morning, after finishing his Greek mid-term exam a full 10 minutes after everyone had left the room, Learner turned his test into his professor, who with a smile, gleefully asked how it was.

“Everything you promised and more,” Learner said. “But it’s kind of like vomiting,” he continued, “you always feel better when it’s over.”

The professor burst out laughing and paid Learner the ultimate of compliments: “I’m going to remember that one,” he said with a grin.

All Talk

In Seminary Tychicus on October 22, 2005 at 11:46 pm

Earlier this evening, after dropping the children off at the seminary’s log cabin for a few hours of free childcare, Learner and Mrs. Learner went to dinner with The Renaissance Man and his wife. The food was Mexican, the conversation enjoyable, and the laughs fun and honest.

During the conversation, Mrs. Learner mentioned that she and Learner were going to pull an all-nighter this evening in order to catch up on quite a bit of housework, study, and time together.

Learner called a minute ago to tell me this, as well as to say he’s still planning to make good on the threat. However, he said, after finishing a reading assignment, Mrs. Learner fell asleep on the couch at about 10:15 p.m. Apparently she’s still there.

“She’s all talk,” Learner said.

Knowing him the way I do, I’d say he will be shortly as well.

Mid-Term Slump/Crunch

In Seminary Tychicus on October 18, 2005 at 7:46 pm

It’s ironic Learner has hit a mid-term slump in his reading and studying just as the mid-term crunch of exams and papers kicks in.

It’s going to be a long two weeks until the end of the month, he says.

Bored with the Gospel

In Seminary Tychicus on October 16, 2005 at 9:05 pm

As part of the continuing Spiritual and Ministry Formation discussion on understanding and living by grace rather than works, Learner is wrestling with author Jerry Bridges’ words on page 67 of his book, Transforming Grace:

“We need to remember that God has already been shown to be the exceedingly gracious and generous landowner. To realize that grace, all we must do is acknowledge we are not more than eleventh-hour workers.”

This phrase best describes the disconnect for Learner in understanding and living by grace. Unfortunately, he’s not sure knowing/recognizing it as such helps all that much.

In the past, Learner has been told by those who have loved him that he has an “entitlement complex” of sorts. The guy who once explained it best said that the story Learner seems to repeatedly believe about himself (i.e. who he is and what he thinks he deserves) somehow gives him permission to engage in behavior and thinking that does not always go along with who he really is (a Christian) and what he really deserve otherwise (hell).

Thus, his experience would back up Bridges’ theory that to live by grace involves changing how he views himself. But (and this is the frustrating part), he’s not sure he’s seen it work when he’s tried (and he supposes his trying is part of the problem, but he REALLY doesn’t get what the alternative is).

Part of the problem is people won’t let Learner confess how wretched he sometimes knows that he is because they themselves don’t or won’t believe it; part of it is that he thinks that he’s honestly just bored with the gospel as both a narrative and a motivator, and he’s not sure he’s experiencing it as reason and power to change. He says he knows he should, but he’s not sure he has, at least not to the extent that he dreams he might.

And yet, by God’s grace (he’s sure), he believes. “Go figure,” he says.

Avon Calling

In Seminary Tychicus on October 13, 2005 at 4:37 pm

Learner and I are sitting in the seminary’s newly remodeled student lounge, talking. By no intention of our own, we can’t help but overhear a loud conversation between a soon-to-graduate missionary-hopeful and the world’s most eager recruiter.

The over-the-top enthusiasm is exceeded only by the number of ministry cliches used. As a result, the missionary recruit is buying it all hook, line, and sinker, thanks to the annoying “God has a plan for your life,” paint-by-numbers tone and mentality of the recruiter.

“Ring, ring. Time to pick up the clue phone,” Learner says. I agree.

Mid-Term Mercy

In Seminary Tychicus on October 11, 2005 at 12:48 pm

Learner’s Greek prof, in a fit of mercy, moved the mid-term exam back a week to better cover subjunctives, participles, and infinitives.

When Exegesis Attacks

In Seminary Tychicus on October 11, 2005 at 6:37 am

This morning, Learner and the rest of his classmates in Greek exegesis turn in their team exegetical assignment. The professor (who is writing a commentary on the book of Ephesians; thus, Learner’s theory is that he and his classmates are doing his research for him) had divided the class into groups of 3 or 4 with an assigned passage from the last two chapters of Ephesians 5 or 6.

Tasked with compiling technical commentary for Ephesians 6:10-20, Learner and two other assigned classmates met to divide the workload. Upon discussion of the assignment in which they made sure they each knew what was expected, they divided the work, agreeing to take two weeks to ensure time to research the recommended and required four commentaries, and write their individual reports.

Upon completion of their individual assignments, Learner compiled the results and emailed initial draft to the other two. They then met the next morning for two hours to walk through the draft in detail, with each contributor highlighting the main ideas as well as the nuances of his passage. Questions were asked, points clarified, wording and formatting adjusted, and the report submitted.

I won’t bore you with the entirety of their final 31-page report, but in case you’re interested, here’s a non-technical snippet from Learner’s findings on Ephesians 6:18 (I didn’t include the Greek translation and word studies due to Blogger’s inability to reproduce the Greek font):

“And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.”

–Paul describes attitude to maintain by use of two participles (“praying” and “keeping alert”)
1) could express means but more likely shows manner of action; argues punctuation at end of 17 should be comma rather than period (Hoehner, 855)
2) prayer itself is not identified with any weapon (O’Brien, 483)
3) prayer is not seventh piece of spiritual armor as some claim (Lincoln, 451)
4) prayer is believer’s “vital communication with headquarters” (Bruce, 413)

–Cyclical perspective: prayer is for the purpose of maintaining alertness; prayer causes alertness, alertness keeps believers in prayer (Hoehner, 859)

–One-way perspective: believers need to stay alert; such vigilance is to be accompanied by perseverance and prayer; believers are to persevere so as to overcome fatigue and discouragement, and not to fall into spiritual sleep or complacency (O’Brien, 485)

–Lincoln agrees more with O’Brien than Hoehner: to be alert involves renouncing spiritual sleep of the darkness of this age (cf. also 1 Peter 4:7)

–Paul’s call to prayer in expectation of the Lord’s coming seems reasonable (cf. 1 Corinthians 16:22; Revelation 22:20; linked elsewhere in NT: Romans 12:12; Colossians 4:2; cf. Acts 1:14; 2:42; 6:4) (O’Brien, 485)

–Important to note repetition in this verse, done for emphasis to suggest thoroughness and intensity in regards to prayer (Hoehner, 459)

–“all the saints” indicates all believers are involved in this struggle against evil powers (Hoehner, 859)

–“all the saints” refers to those whom have been joined in the new community of God’s people (cf. 1:15; 2:24-18:3:8); four-fold “alls” (“prayer and supplication, with all perseverance, and supplication for all the saints”) underscores most emphatically the significance which the apostle gave to such mutual intercession (O’Brien, 486); four-fold alls typical of writer’s plerophory of style (Lincoln, 453)

–Preposition means “around, about, concerning” and when followed by genitive after verbs or nouns regarding prayer “introduces the person or thing in whose interest the petition is made; thus, takes places of “concerning, on behalf of” (BAGD 644; BDAG 797; cf. also Wallace, Greek Grammar, 363)

–Writer reminds readers of links with all the saints (cf. 1:15; 3:18), which should bear fruit in breadth of their concerns and prayers (Lincoln, 453)

This is probably enough to make the point that this was not an enjoyable assignment. At least as of this morning, though, it’s over.

Mid-term exam in one week. “Ugh,” Learner says.

Is There a Debit Card for That?

In Seminary Tychicus on October 10, 2005 at 11:18 am

With the exception of detailing Learner’s fall schedule (which, to his amazement, he has been able to stick to so far), I recognize that many of the posts throughout September were a bit “soft” in terms of actual reporting on the academic elements of seminary life. Forgive me. I have such a heart for Learner that oftentimes in my subjectivity I forget to include the more objective realities of his experiences.

So, as we’re into a new month (October – one of Learner’s favorites for reasons of fall weather and the World Series), let me take more of a “beat reporter” mindset and bring you news from Learner’s Spiritual and Ministry Formation class, which is designed to help the student identify calling, gifting, ministry philosophy and contribution. Having just finished The Call by Os Guinness, Learner and Mrs. Learner have started Transforming Grace by Jerry Bridges, in which Bridges writes with helpful simplicity about a matter that, for Learner at least, is personally complicated: the grace of God.

Bridges is a master of both unique but accurate exposition. For instance (and with regard to the parable of the landowner in Matthew 20:1-16): “The landowner was not only fair with his workers; he was progressively more generous with each group of workers he hired throughout the day. He received, not what he had earned on an hourly basis, but what he needed to sustain his family for a day. The landowner could have paid them only what they had earned, but he chose to pay them according to their need, not according to their work. He paid according to grace, not debt.”

While Learner wants to critique Bridges’ presumption as to the landowner’s motives in paying a full day’s wages (couldn’t he have just been keeping his advertised word rather than giving thought at all to the worker’s needs?), he’s not sure his skepticism makes sense as to why Jesus would tell the parable in the first place. Contextually, Jesus is not trying to prove that God keeps his word but rather that he is a generous and gracious God who gives what we do not deserve, out of grace and not out of debt, as Bridges puts it.

Learner’s tendency toward this kind of critique is unfortunately too telling as to how little he really experiences the grace of God. His sense (obsession) of right and wrong, combined with five generations of farm background in which “you only get what you work for” and “don’t bother anyone with your troubles” constantly works against his acceptance (though not his recognition) of his need for grace. Sadly, to this farm boy, grace is what you are to give to others (it’s what good neighbors do); debt is what you have to pay back (and, he says, “we all know what payback is…”).

More to come…

Open Season

In Seminary Tychicus on October 5, 2005 at 7:45 am

Yesterday, after hearing no questions pertaining to the vast verb tense chart covered in class, Learner’s Greek professor declared “open season” on said chart and everything previous for Thursday’s quiz.

“Open season.” These were the actual words, Learner said.

“Why does it suddenly feel like I have antlers?” he asked.

Learner As Mr. Ed

In Seminary Tychicus on October 4, 2005 at 9:50 am

From Learner’s reading to his children, in which Bree, who once thought of himself as noble war horse and trusty steed, is comforted by the old Hermit as Bree had just tucked tail and run for his life while his rider, Shasta, jumped off to turn and fight off the lion (Aslan) chasing his injured female friend, Aravis, on her horse, Hwin:

“‘My good Horse,’ said the Hermit, who had approached them unnoticed because his bare feet made so little noise on that sweet, dewy grass. ‘My good Horse, you’ve lost nothing but your self-conceit. No, no, cousin. Don’t put back your ears and shake your mane at me. If you are really so humbled as you sounded a minute ago, you must learn to listen to sense. You’re not quite the great Horse you had come to think, from living among poor dumb horses. Of course you were braver and cleverer than them. You could hardly help being that. It doesn’t follow that you’ll be anyone very special in Narnia. But as long as you know you’re nobody very special, you’ll be a very decent sort of Horse, on the whole…’”

– from The Horse and His Boy, by C.S. Lewis, pgs. 151-152

Lessons Learned

In Seminary Tychicus on September 23, 2005 at 1:07 pm
Learner just called with the bad news that his Specialized mountain bike (a $600 gift from his former director) is missing, probably stolen. Last he saw it, it was by their apartment’s backdoor, placed in a corner not visible from the front; in other words, only somebody who knew it was back there or who happened to be wandering in back could have taken it. This makes Learner sad…and angry.

It’s what he gets for trying to trust people, he says. It’s what he gets for trying to hold his possessions with an open hand, daring life to either confirm or negate just how much or how little he actually is tied to his belongings. But perhaps the lesson that hurts most (even more than the one that you should always lock up your bike even on a seminary campus) is that it is indeed a fallen world. Learner says he’s getting really tired of learning that one on a daily basis.

Had Learner seen him steal it, woe to the guy who took the bike, he says. Instead, he guesses he’ll just have to forgive and move on.

On foot, that is.

Skipping

In Seminary Tychicus on September 20, 2005 at 9:39 am

Learner is skipping chapel this morning to exegete Ephesians 1.

It begins.

Less Is More

In Seminary Tychicus on September 20, 2005 at 6:54 am

Living on campus has afforded Learner and Mrs. Learner the opportunity to sell their red 1992 Cavalier. This leaves them with only their 1996 Honday Odyssey minivan…and no other car insurance, maintenance, or (supposedly) headaches apart from it.

“Less is more,” Learner says.

That is, until he has to get somewhere.

Ten Days In

In Seminary Tychicus on September 12, 2005 at 9:27 am

Officially ten (or so) days into the fall semester and it is both glorious and ridiculous in terms of the amount of reading and scheduling required to make things work, Learner says. World-class athletes have no margin for missing work-outs or sloughing off on their diets as their bodies are so finely tuned and affected by even the slightest deviation from their regimen; the same feels true for him right now (minus the world-class athlete physique and the almost humorous idea of Learner on some kind of diet).

And yet, he’s loving it as it really feels like what he thought graduate school/seminary might. Between Learner and Mrs. Learner, they have 19 hours, but even with homeschooling their four children, this has seemed fairly manageable (even fun). If they’ve felt any struggle with schedules right now, it’s been because of random external circumstances (day-and-a-half membership class at church this past weekend combined with Mrs. Learner’s parents being here; the family gearing up to go to the farm next weekend so the children can experience the local Apple Festival, etc.). After next weekend, Learners says he thinks they’ll be able to hunker down and be okay.

And yet, Learner wouldn’t be Learner if there wasn’t a flip-side. Here’s what he says he’s nervous about:

  • Papers – not so much writing them but researching them (it’s been a long time, he says, and he’s not sure he knows all the rules for the process anymore, especially now that everything’s changed because of the Internet). He hopes to get some time at the seminary’s Writing Center soon for some pointers.
  • Relationships – it’s been good in that they’ve connected with some folks so far, but already Learner says he feels he’s toward the brim of his people-cup, at least in terms of doing more with a few and being cordial and interested in the rest. Being on campus is still a great thing and he loves walking to class and seeing many people whose names he knows (he still remembers what it felt like to be lost in a sea of humanity at his university of countless thousands); however, there are folks he gravitates toward and others he doesn’t, and he’s still figuring out how to think about that.
  • The children – in many respects, he’s as close to his kids as he’s ever been in terms of locale, time, and initiative, and yet they are really beginning to change (his two oldest, especially). Trying to keep track of what’s going on with each of them is requiring some new discipline on his part to evolve his parenting tendencies and let them learn some things in some new ways. It’s good, he says, and he’s learning as they do, but it’s also different, just as everything else about their lives seems to be these days.

In general, though, he’s encouraged by the fact that the family is here and that they’re here now – at this stage of their lives – and not earlier or later. God’s timing, he says, has seemed quite right in many respects, and he’s trusting that the sense of that is also the reality of it. While he and Mrs. Learner are far from figuring things out, they are working hard and making the most of the opportunities before them in a way that matches the challenges coming at them.

Learner said he had the thought the other day that, if for some reason, someone told him he had a year to live so what would he do with it, his thought was that he’s doing what he wants to do with it now, though that’s not always been the case in the past. All in all, he says, it feels like a really good fit so far, dead or alive.

Swinging for the Trees

In Seminary Tychicus on September 7, 2005 at 6:12 am

Last night at about 9:15 p.m., Learner was walking home from his Theology and Practice of Prayer class (the last of a long day’s worth) when he looked over at the campus playground and saw a grown man, alone in full motion, swinging on the playground swingset.

The sight of this 225-pound adult – legs pumping and head and upper body thrown back for momentum – coupled with the evening’s teaching that prayer need not be long, eloquent, or intense to be done or effectual, caused Learner to stop in his tracks to offer a prayer to God asking for a similar lightness of spirit.

“Swinging for the trees,” Learner said. “The man on the swing, too.”

An Email to Learner’s New Pastor

In Seminary Tychicus on September 4, 2005 at 7:07 am

Last week, Learner emailed his new pastor a copy of his weekly schedule. The pastor responded, remarking at “the many hats you’ll be wearing in the next few years,” and asking how he could “come alongside” this fall (Learner is formally interning with the church). Still trying to dig out from this week’s first classes, Learner asked me to draft an email from my perspective as to what I thought his pastor needed to know. “We spend so much time together,” he said, “we’re practically one and the same.” I agreed, and this is what I wrote:

Dear Pastor,

Thanks again for your email. And thanks, too, for 1) not trying to talk Learner out of his schedule – yes, it’s a lot, but he knows himself well enough by now to discern the difference between a schedule that’s too much and one that’s just hard; and 2) not telling but asking him how you could help and letting him respond. Typically, he invites only a select few to speak into his life, which is why he sent you his schedule in the first place. So, congratulations. And, as Learner himself would say, “Welcome to the freak show.”

Learner and Mrs. Learner were up late last night working on all the online “diagnostics” their professor assigned for Spiritual and Ministry Formation that they have together. In going through the different personality tests and surveys, the thing that struck him is how well they both know themselves and each other and really have come a long way in being intentional and observant in the ten years since they first started thinking about who they are and what any of that might mean.

All your titles for him in your email (“husband, father, father, father, father, employee, intern, student”) were accurate (he liked the “father” thing four times – that was funny). He wouldn’t give any of them up for anything (though sometimes the employee thing wears on him because, as a rule, he hates money and the fact/reality that it takes money to live and having to make enough of a living so his kids can eat when all he really wants to do is study to do things that are never going to be big money providers – write books, teach, etc. – can get frustrating).

In answer to your question, for him, “guy time” is probably going to have to be “night time,” more specifically after his children are in bed, which is usually around 8 p.m. As he’s gone two evenings a week (Monday and Tuesday) already for classes, he says he wants to make sure he can be around to help Mrs. Learner put the kids down for bed as much as he can (bedtime can be a nightmare sometimes, though it’s getting better). Being the good INTJ that he is (ever-increasing on the Introvert-side of things, he found out taking the test again last night), he’ll occasionally need some initiation to do something outside of the norm of his schedule, as he’s not one to frequent too many bars if left to himself.

A word on “to do something”: it doesn’t have to be much, and frankly, he’d prefer that it not be. Coffee/tea somewhere, or a walk around campus or a park to pray, a museum or anything else that’s cheap and low-key are always his bias. You’ll rarely get him to go out with a bunch of guys just for fun as he’s at a point in life in which he needs/wants a few close friends, and not more acquaintances who he doesn’t even know their last names. This doesn’t mean he won’t or shouldn’t do things in a group setting (especially if he needs to for his internship responsibilities with the church in terms of getting to know people), but these are just his preferences. Mrs. Learner says he’s his own best friend, so read into that what you will.

One specific thing that you can help him with is to be periodically thinking about how he’s doing with all the academic hoops he needs to jump through with seminary and higher education in general. When it comes to mandatory processes and paperwork (read: bureaucracy), he doesn’t do all that well trying to keep up with what he needs to file and whose signatures need to be on it. Again, as he learned last night, part of this is preference (he just doesn’t care) and part of it is ignorance (his understanding of higher education as anything more than a goal at this point in time is nil). The time when you drew out the internship process on the board and showed him how to jump through all the hoops once instead of three times was a huge help, not just as an education of the process, but also as a relief that someone else might be able to think about this with him and on his behalf. You know the system(s) so much better than he does. He definitely needs your help there.

The other thing that you can help him with is to keep him from becoming too denominational. That may sound funny considering you’re a denominational pastor and all, but one thing that he said he appreciated about you is that you come from a parachurch background, wrote a book with a non-denominational publisher, and seem to have a bit of discernment as to the need not to confuse this particular denomination with being God’s only chosen church. Don’t get him wrong, he says: he likes the denomination and is growing in his love for and understanding of the church as a whole; at the same time, however, he has no desire to become the world’s greatest denominationalist, and he grows weary of all the lingo and, honestly, arrogance that says the denomination has it all figured out (so far, he says, he’s gotten that attitude more from students than professors, but he’s still a little gunshy). Like you, he has a pretty highly-developed crap-o-meter, and he’d rather not have it going off all the time (it goes off enough here at seminary).

Other things: of course, you’re always welcome to tutor him in Greek exegesis, but you do have a life. One thing that would really be helpful is if you could give him a 20-30 minute review on the research process you use for paper-writing, etc. Learner’s high school did such a poor job on the basics of that (it’s all changed now anyway with the Internet) and he always made it through college on the strength of his writing rather than the quality of his research, but that won’t happen here. He feels like that’s a potentially big blind spot for him right now, and anything you’d be willing to do to help him there (charts, pulling out your notes to something, showing him how you categorize, organize – just pretend it’s sophomore year all over again and he’s the jock in the class who has to write a paper or he can’t play quaterback anymore) would be really helpful.

He supposes that, in general, he needs to feel trusted not only with responsibility but also with relationship. He’s always had more of a mutual friendship with his pastors than just a receiving one – several of them have trusted him with what they “really” think about God, people, the church, etc., and he served them well by being in their corner. He knows there’s no perfect church and he doesn’t think yours is either, and he needs you to not be afraid to process stuff like that with him or “protect” him from it. He was encouraged that you didn’t do that when you first met, and he hopes that can continue. He can be a very loyal friend, a shrewd (in a good way) adviser, and one who doesn’t gossip but who instead knows how to keep a confidence. And, he’s learning again how to pray, slowly but surely.

As a rule, he tends to be fairly low-maintenance (to lead anyway), very much a self-starter (and finisher – closure is a drug to him), hates to be micro-managed and patronized, and usually does well enough with correction and confrontation when it starts with facts and not motives. He usually does better when he has too little time than when he has too much time on his hands, and he, like you, hates when stuff is done poorly, which can be a bit hard to live with (just ask Mrs. Learner for specifics on this).

I hope some of this helps. Let me know if there’s anything else I can do for you as I’m with Learner quite a bit (sometimes to Mrs. Leaner’s chagrin) and usually have a pretty good idea what he’s thinking about and dealing with. And thanks again for your interest in Learner’s life. It means a lot.

Sincerely,

Tychicus

Default Schedule

In Seminary Tychicus on September 3, 2005 at 10:47 am

Class started on Thursday and Learner has been scrambling to keep up with the flood of new faces, assignments, professors, and ideas coming at him. At first it was almost too much, but after getting some reading done yesterday and getting organized (a practice that does much good for his OCD tendencies), he thinks there’s hope he can handle it, at least for now.

As I haven’t yet, maybe I should give you a look into Learner’s “default schedule” (he calls it “default” with the mentality that, should nothing out of the ordinary happen – ahem – this would be his day):

5:00 Time with the Lord
5:30 Study/work
7:00 Breakfast/shower/family
8:00 Greek Exegesis (T, TH); Preparation and Delivery of Sermons (W, F)
9:30 Chapel (T, F); covenant group (W); study/work (Th)
10:30 Study/work (T, Th); Covenant Theology (W, F)
12:00 Lunch/family
1:00 Study/work/watch children while Mrs. Learner takes Intro to Counseling (T, Th: 3:00-4:15)
5:30 Dinner/family
6:15 Spiritual Ministry Formation with Mrs. Learner (M); Theology & Prayer (T)/family (W-F)
7:30 Read Chronicles of Narnia to children (W-F)
8:15 Study/work (W-F)
9:15 Bed

It’s going to be a busy fall. I hope I can keep up with him.

The Chronicles of Fall

In Seminary Tychicus on August 30, 2005 at 4:36 am

Two days away from starting classes for the fall, Learner spent a majority of yesterday registering and scheduling, getting all his ducks in a row, and pretending to be in complete control of life (if only in his head and on paper). It felt good, he says.

Taking 14 hours this semester, studying 20 and working 19 per week, preparing and teaching a Sunday School class for 10 weeks beginning this Sunday, and trying to be of some help to Mrs. Learner as she homeschools the kids while taking and studying for 5 hours of class herself, it’s going to be a full fall.

Last night, Learner had a breakthrough with the children at bedtime. Desperate for a change, he started reading The Chronicles of Narnia to them and they loved it, his oldest (who has been causing most of the trouble lately) especially. He read to them (all four, in their beds, in the same room) three chapters (about 45 pages/minutes worth), and they were, for the most part, enthralled, he says.

Personally, Learner says it was a much-needed moment of relief and joy of actually feeling like a father again, and he’s hoping to make this part of their routine in the new fall schedule.

The other major schedule adjustment this fall is Learner’s wake and sleep times. He’s always historically done better “early to bed, early to rise” (in college, he and his roommate used to go to sleep at 9 p.m., getting up at 6 a.m., which was somewhat underhead of at the undergraduate level). Thus, he’s making a point to shoot for sleep by 9:30 each night in order to rise at 5 a.m. each morning.

(Note: For some reason, he called about an hour ago (3:30 a.m.) to tell me all this, saying he was up because he had to “take out” a loud cricket that made it indoors. Afterward, he couldn’t get back to sleep, which was okay, he said, because he fell asleep by 9:45 p.m. after reading ahead for his beginning homiletics class and feels fine.)

“I got the cricket,” he says. “Congratulations,” I tell him.

Anyway, Learner says that if he gets to bed early, he thinks he can make it; if not, he has no idea how else to get done what he needs to and still maintain some semblance of time with the Lord (not to mention keep hold of his personal sanity as well).

“Now is not the time to be passive in planning. ‘Seize the day’ and all that crap,” he says.

In addition to the night’s cricket-killing exercise, he checked his email and got word he actually passed his beginning Greek class (no small thanks to the given extra credit), and is officially heading for Greek exegesis, which he registered for by faith yesterday.

He’s motivated (now/again). Help him, God. Be his motivation.

New Day, New Week

In Seminary Tychicus on August 29, 2005 at 7:03 am

Let’s hope so. That’s what Learner’s been praying for, anyway.