It's almost like a customize meme. The next question is how I want to answer them. Do I want to be comical like Thom? Would I prefer to be euphemistic, and thereby avoid revealing too much about how I really feel about things? Should I sound all whiney and cynical about things?
I don't feel creative enough to be comical (on purpose). And if I try to balance the euphemistic and cynical stuff, it might come out somewhere near the truth. Ah truth, if there's one thing that I'm learning about it's people's ideas about the relativeness of "truth."
First things first ... Why don't we take a little tour of the campus of Wesley Theological Seminary. This was from a few weeks ago when there were still leaves on the trees.
1. What classes are you taking? I'm taking an ambitious load of: The Hebrew Bible, The New Testament, Early Church History (up to the Reformation), Philosophy, and Teaching and Learning. It comes to 17 credit hours. The idea with this was to get the required courses completed as quickly as possible, so that I could have the maximum opportunity for electives. I also wanted to be able to take a lighter load the year that I have to write my thesis.
2. How hard are they? I wouldn't really call any of them hard, except one, but they are all a lot of work. All but one have many writing assignment due throughout the semester. Few of them are very long, but the volume of assignments is challenging. (For example, the Hebrew Bible course has nine papers due in a 13 week semester.) That surprised me. I expected fewer papers with greater length requirements. I think that the longest papers I have are about seven pages. And, of course, there's all the reading that goes along with it. The Bible's the least of it (though it is extensive, of course). It has been "interesting" trying to adapt. I think that I'm on a good schedule now.
Strangely enough, the class that's the hardest for me is "Teaching and Learning". It is designed to help us to better adapt to the learning requirements of student to be effective. I think that it's ironic that I can't seem to connect with the professor. She's trying to introduce many different teaching techniques, but I always feel lost in her class. (She's a Lutheran, btw. lol) I am encouraged, however, because we're getting to a more practical part of the syllabus where we are evaluating and creating course curriculum. I get to work with charts and do long term planning. I love that kind of stuff, and I actually think that I know what the professor wants.
So, except for that one hiccup, I really love all my classes. I'm learning about new ways to look at Scripture and work with it. And I really love how all of these classes compliment each other. I was learning about different perspectives for Bible interpretation in both Hebrew Bible and New Testament at the same time, so those new concepts were reinforced, and I felt that I really learned and understood them more thoroughly than would have been possible otherwise. Philosophy and Early Church History have had a similar relationship because, the western philosophers had a huge part to play in church history, and they were contributors or developers of theology and doctrine. Talking about them (and their place in history) in both classes really helps to get it locked into this ol' brain. :)
3. What are you discovering? I would like to answer this with "It's too early to tell." That's mostly because I don't like the answer that I have to this question. I guess I am discovering some things, but I expect my assessment to change over time. (Sorry, I'm hedging here. lol) Right now, I'm discovering that the early church leaders were just as prone to politics and infighting about theological details for both personal and spiritual reasons as people in the church are today. I actually think that it might have been worse then if you can believe it. (And I haven't even gotten to the Crusades or the wars surrounding the Reformation yet!) I guess that I had hoped that I would find some church leaders back then who treated their peers with the dignity and respect that Jesus taught in the Gospels. I'm kinda bummed about not finding it.
I'm also discovering that my fellow seminarians are just as prone to being exclusionary and insensitive as anyone in the secular world. Even when they can spout out the lessons of the Bible in class, I see very little evidence of them putting them into practice when interacting with their colleagues. That has probably disappointed me more than anything else. I guess it's a good thing that I have time for little else than my classes. (And it helps when I remember that I'm an alien, and there are some things that I just don't "get." ;) )
As you can tell, I'm a little discouraged in the emotional department. I've tried to put on a happy face, and I really haven't said too much about it because I don't want to be a whiner. But if you can't be honest on your blog, where can you be honest? Right? On the other hand, it's probably not that much fun to read. But there you are. Can't have it both ways. LOL
But having said that, I'm still really glad that I'm here, and I'm learning about things I never dreamed of in my classes. That's really awesome. Thanks be to God! :)