Friday, September 17, 2004

Fortnight Reflections

Classes started on September 7th, and after two weeks

of lecture and sections, I think I've seen enough to draw a few

conclusions about my new life here at Seminary.

But before I begin, I have to tell you, dear friends, that my short

time here has already resulted in tremendous sense of confirmation,

both for my choice of school, and for this new life that lies ahead.

Now, the recap.

The Classes

There are four classes all new students take here at the seminary -- Systematic Theology I (Theology), History of the Old Testament (OT), Introduction to the History of the Christian Church (History), and The Church as a Worshipping Community (Worship). All are subjects I thoroughly enjoy, and all are being taught by excellent scholars. If I had one wish for this semester, it would be that we had more time to delve deeper into particular course topics. This is especially true for the Church History class, where the professor has had to place an emphasis on rote memorization of dates, people, and places because of the historical expanse we must cover.

History of Old Testament (OT) class was a real mind-blower for me, and our theology professor is, in a word, astonishing. We're already diving into Barth, Calvin, Migliore, and others.

My favorite class at this point is Worship. Here we examine what we as Christians do. What is this thing we call worship? Why do we do it? Who, in fact, is doing the worshipping? By its very nature, the class weaves together history, ritual, tradition, theology, and music.

We pray before every lecture. Our Worship professor always precedes his prayers with the traditional invitation "The Lord be with you."

"And also with you," we respond. That little couplet means so much to me.

Chapel services are held every Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday at 11:00 a.m. The regular pauses for prayer and worship provide much-needed spiritual refreshment during the course of the day. To encourage students to find a local church, Chapel services are not held on Sundays.

The People

The faculty and students here are wonderful. The collegiality of the faculty was one of my key considerations when choosing Austin. And the students! They come from everywhere, with an amazing portfolio of experience. We're already establishing study groups and social adventures. I'm a member of the seminary's "Polity Bowl" flag football team. We've already begun scrimmages in parparation of taking back the Polity Bowl crown from the Episcopalian seminarians down the street.

That's it for now. Back to reading. The Lord be with you.

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

Kerry's Mind

Rich Lowry attempts to decode John Kerry, with "nuanced" results:
[I]f the war that he authorized needs funding, he's against it. If American troops need more body armor, he criticizes President Bush for not providing it. But if funding for such armor is in the $87 billion bill to fund the war, which he authorized and once supported but no longer supports even though he authorized it, he's against it.

If — prior to readjusting fully to the Dean surge — he is asked about the $87 billion, he believes voting against it would be "irresponsible." Later — after vanquishing Dean, and as he tries to move to the center — if he is criticized for actually voting against the $87 billion, he explains that he voted for it, before voting against it. He voted for it because it would be wrong to abandon our troops, but he voted against it because it would be wrong to support the war the troops are fighting in, which he once supported, but now opposes, even though he supports the troops as long as they can fight it without new funding.
Et cetera. You get the point.

Sunday, September 12, 2004

Like you, I remember exactly where I was,

Exactly what I was doing, and

Exactly who said it first.

Fellow citizens fell to their deaths to avoid being burned.

Even so, some ran in to the buildings.

They saved many with their calm heroism.

Some were able to fight back, and they prevented further calamity at the cost of their own lives.

Like you, I will never forget, even though I would like to.

That would make it easier to see, think, and comprehend without the pain of remembering.

But we do remember, and we must.

Grace and peace to you in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.