Tuesday, February 21, 2006

the reason why i'm here

I realized I had posted lots of pictures and stories of adventures I've had with friends in CA this quarter but hadn't posted anything about the classes I am in. Now with 2 1/2 weeks left in the quarter classes are all of what is consuming my time and energy.
Here's an overview of my classes this quarter:
-Intro. to Family Ministry with Chap Clark. This is my second Chap class and he is quickly becoming one of the best professors I've ever had. I love his teaching style (very similar to Dr. J for you Spiders reading). What I love even more about Chap's classes than his teaching style is the content. I will take a series of four classes from Chap--all Youth and Family related. Last quarter I took Youth Ministry and over the next year or so I will take Youth Outreach and Evangelism, and Leadership and Youth Ministry. Family Ministry has been an overview of what the state of the family is today, various views on what constitutes a family and finally different modes of family ministry in a church. We've looked in depth (Scriptures in the Greek and Hebrew) at what the roles of men, women, and children are in the family. Chap also gave the best sex talks I've ever heard. We've read several books (Rodney Clapp, Eddie Gibbs and Diane Garland). Garland's book is 600 pages--oh man it's taken me awhile! Our final papers for the class are to write a personal philosophy of family ministry and to design a family ministry curriculum for a church (similar to what I did for my youth ministry class). I've loved this class for it's practical implications for future ministry but mostly for the depth of theological thought on how we make decisions about dealing with families and all the sticky issues surrounding them in the church.
-Hebrew Prophets with James Butler. Having never read the Old Testament except for a verse here and there I wasn't sure how this class would be. However, Dr. Butler is quite possibly one of the most humble human beings I've met. He is brilliant but communicates that brilliance in a gentle and pastoral manner. I feel like this is rare in the world of academia and I admire him a lot for it. Therefore, taking Hebrew Prophets with Dr. Butler has caused my fear and intimidation of the Old Testament to go down. I have loved seeing the connections from the New Testament to the Old Testament, how God's promises are constantly being fulfilled. Reading the Old Testament reveals the wholeness and beauty of the narrative surrounding God's love and desire for His people. I'm excited to take my Pentateuch and Writings classes to learn more about the OT. My assignments for this class have been mostly readings (of the prophets and several commentaries). We had a midterm and have a final that forced me to memorize tons of identifications (pretty much all the key people, events, places, objects in the prophets) and write essay on key themes, ideas, and controversies. I walked away from my midterm feeling I had learned a ton. We also have a research paper in which I'm writing on female imagery in the prophets (haven't started that but it's due in a week and a half so we'll see!).
-Greek with Darren Land. This is my second quarter of a three quarter system to learn the Basics of Biblical Greek. We learned nouns last quarter, verbs this quarter, and participles are next quarter. This has been the class I've struggled with most. I am not a fan of my prof's teaching style and have had to teach myself Greek (with the help of some friends who've had Greek before). Teaching yourself Greek nouns is one thing, but teaching yourself verbs is a whole different story... I think that I've gotten a good grasp on the theory behind the grammer which will help when I'm actually using the Greek to interpret and translate the New Testament. One another note, I have the same group of students in my Greek class all three quarters so that has been fun to have a consistent small group of students throughout the two quarters.
-Foundations of Ministry. This is the forced small group that we are placed in randomly the first week of seminary. There are 7 people in my group, 4 guys and my roommate. It was a shock at first as I was in a small group with 3 married guys but I've come to appreciate our group. We meet once a week and discuss whatever topic they give us in the workbook. This quarter we are going through spiritual disciplines (journaling, lectio divino, lamentations, etc) and partaking in each discipline at each week. It has been fun to hear how each other's denominations, backgrounds, stages of life have impacted our understanding of Christianity. For this class we also have 3 three hour lectures to go to (some are painfully boring, others good). We took a psychological test (hyped up version of Myers Brigg) last quarter and got our results this quarter....interesting stuff!

There you go--those are the classes I've been in and only 2 1/2 weeks left to finish 2 research papers, 1 paper of quotes, a major final project, a 600 page book, several reflection papers and take 3 finals. Ohhh my!

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

big bear!

First--from my last post, the answer to the question is Bethlehem, and if you see the comment section Jenn H. left a wonderful explanation with the answer. Big gold stars go to Johanna and Jenn Howard!

This past weekend I was at the beautiful ski resort town of Big Bear Lake, CA. About a 2 1/2 hour drive northeast of LA, 33 of us Presbys at Fuller were transported from the smoggy 90 degree weather and busyness of citylife to the 40 degree weather (there was snow!) of tranquil country ski resort town life. We arrived Friday afternoon in Big Bear and enjoyed a weekend that challenged us the "Stewardship of Self-Care" presented by our fabulous speaker Brenda Mitchell. We also enjoyed quite a few hours of free time in which I spent exploring the the happening town of Big Bear, taking a frigid walk through the houses to see beautiful stars (a rarity in LA!), reading by Big Bear Lake, intense Mafia playing, and some hard-core camp song jam sessions (yes, Baby Shark is an amazing song). It was a great time to get away from the stress of midterms (yay I'm done with those) and enjoy quality conversations and laughs with each other. Here are some pictures, more to come!

Beautiful ski slopes on Big Bear Lake from the drive home. Let me tell you...I'm still getting used to the curvy mountain roads as beautiful as they are.

My duck friends while reading at the lake...makes me think of the crazy ducks at UR.Two of my favorite people--Sophie and Sarah and I out on the town of Big Bear. Check out the blueness of the sky and beautiful sun rays--I love LA but that is something I miss seeing!

Friday, February 03, 2006

To what town did Naomi and Ruth return from Moab?

That is question #21 from the 2006 Bible Content Exam. Today Presbyterians everywhere in the ordination process for the PC(USA) church took a 100 multiple choice test on the content of the Bible. In order to pass the Bible Content Exam (needed for ordination) a score of 70% is required. Filled with questions that many call "Sunday School trivia" the test questions ranged from very well known basic facts of the Bible to obscure details... I'm not sure what the pass/fail rate is but I do know a good number of people who passed on their first try and a good number of people who failed on their first try... So we'll see!
The Bible Content Exam is only the beginning in the ordination process for the PC (USA) church. Only been a part of the PC(USA) church for a year and a half I'm learning everyday about new policies and requirements for the ordination process. However from what I know so far from the fabulous Presby community at Fuller, the process requires the passing of several intense ordination exams (from an exgetical exam to Presbyterian sacraments exam), a 10 week long internship as a chaplain at a hospital, a field education requirement (internship at a church most likely), several required classes in addition to the general MDiv degree requirements, psychological testing, the passing of the Bible Content Exam, and lots and lots of meetings and paperwork with your Presbytery (the organization of Presbyterian churches in a geographical region that you go "under care" with--it has been said that the US govt. is based off the Presbyterian church if that helps). I know there's more that I'm forgetting! It sounds like a lot (and from what I've seen it is a lot) but it is an interesting and useful (well most of the time it seems) process to both learn about yourself and discern your call as you prepare to go into ministry as well for the Presbyterian church to screen potential new ministers. So who knows what the next 3 years will bring--but as of right now that's a little bit of what's going to be going on in my life. Oh and I don't know the answer to the question in my title...sorry! If you do know then please let me know, and you will get a gold star:)
Haha, hope everyone is doing well! And I know y'all read my blog because you tell me you do, but please comment! Thanks, much love to all--miss y'all East Coasters!