To be honest, with the passing of Dr. John, I really couldn't bring myself to play in the fun and games of blogging. And then there was the undeniable fact that with the resumption of classes, I had to go double time to get back into the swing of things at school.
Speaking of school ...
We're about half-way through the semester, and I realized that I haven't talked about it at all. It is 180 degrees different from last semester. There's still plenty of work, but it is not the stressful pressure cooker that it was before.
This semester I'm taking a wide variety of classes. Church History (from Reformation to the Present) is a required course. Unfortunately, the prof doesn't present the material in as organized a manner as the prof last semester, and I'm remembering why it took me so long to agree to become a part of organized religion. However, it is making me appreciate my denomination, United Methodist, because it answers so many of the issues surrounding all of the violence of the Reformation and Counter-Reformation.
Biblical Interpretation is a lot of fun. Last semester, I was speed reading through both the Hebrew Bible and the New Testament. With this class, we get to slow down and thoroughly consider the text from many different perspectives. I had no idea that there were so many!
We have Conservative Rabbi Weinblatt teaching Modern Judaism, and except for the fact that he speaks at the rate of a freight train, this class is absolutely fascinating. It's reading familiar history from a totally different point of view. As a general rule, that doesn't happen too often. After all, the victors write the history books. However, Judaism occupies a unique niche. The good Rabbi has invited a class to a Friday evening service at his synagogue, and I'm really looking forward to that. (Better make that a priority. The semester is slipping away fast.)
This term I have one professor teaching two of my classes Pastoral Counseling and Conflict Resolution. The second class was only for 6 weeks and has already completed. The professor is one of the most highly titled person that I've met, but you'd never know it to talk to him. Despite the fact that he has three Masters degrees and two phD's, he is the most approachable and easy to talk to person that you'd ever meet. Just the kind of person that you'd want as your pastoral counselor. He looks like a jolly little elf. He's about 65 years old and all of 5 feet tall with a big gut and skinny little legs. Did I mention that he has a goatee kind of beard thing? He's also a great teacher, which is not always true of these highly titled types.
My last class is The Lively Word, and it is also a mini-class. It only started this past Monday. It is designed to get us to do the readings in a dramatic fashion, so that they will be more meaningful for everyone. Have you ever heard someone read in that monotone, going through the words, and can't even tell what the point is? It's awful. It's boring. It's pointless. Now, I'm not saying that I read this way, but I want to be better. And, this class looks like it's another that's going to be a lot of fun. Each week we'll be reading different genre's of literature or mini sermons. The only "unfun" part is that we'll be video taped each week and have to critique ourselves. Again the instructor is great, and she really knows her stuff. Not only can she present, but through her years of teaching this class, she has learned how to critique students without making them overly self-conscious.
And that's about it. It sounds like a lot of classes, but there are several "practical" ones in there that do not require the insane amount of outside class work that all of my classes required in the Fall. I may survive this first year yet.