Wednesday, September 9, 2009

catching up

So for those of you who might still be anxiously awaiting to hear how my first day of school went (two and a half weeks ago...), sorry 'bout that. I know you've been on the edge of your seats, checking at least every hour to see if I've updated you yet, right?
It's amazing how quickly time passes here, when there's always something to do, whether that's reading for class, meeting new friends and getting to know them, or enjoy my few moments of downtime when I can get them. So, though blogging has been relatively high on my priorities list, I just hadn't made it there yet. Til now.

I'm sure you'll pick up on this in what follows, but just to summarize: I'm loving it!

I've got three wonderful roommates -- Deanna, Olivia, and Kaylynn. I'm having a great time getting to know the three of those girls, and they've been so much fun to hang out with. We'll cook dinner together every once in a while and watch an episode or two of various TV shows that we're all fans of. They're amazing, and I definitely thank God for brining us together!

Here are a couple of pictures for you of my side of the room I'm sharing with Kaylynn.

We're in a cute little house just a block or so off campus (down the street to the west of University Church of Christ, for any of you who might be familiar with Abilene). It's a great location, not just because it's so close to campus, but also because we've got some of the guys from the GST (Graduate School of Theology) living just down at the other end of the street, and they're a lot of fun to hang out with. Just last night, in fact, they hosted their annual GST cookout, and there were probably around 100 people there. Definitely a good time!

So as far as churches, well, I thought it would take me a while to find a place that I felt comfortable, but that actually happened the first Sunday in town. I'll probably check out a few other places still, but as I do, I'm planning to attend HOPE Church of Christ, which is a smaller, more informal congregation than I've been accustomed to, and that's exactly along the lines of what I was looking for. They meet on Sunday nights instead of Sunday mornings for worship, so that'll give me a chance to visit some other places on Sunday mornings as well. Anyway, my roommate Deanna goes there and introduced me to it, and I immediately felt like a part of their family. Not only that, but I was able to truly worship from the heart for probably the first time in years, or at least what seems like years. Right now the church is in the process of relocating, from a warehouse that they've been in for the past few years, to a storefront location which they're renovating themselves. I've gone to help out with the finishing touches (painting, outlet covers, etc.) a couple of times, and it's amazing what they've done to transform that place. We'll be moving in around the beginning of October, and we're all excited!

And classes... the main reason I'm here in the first place. I can't really describe to you how happy I am to be here and how much I am enjoy my work!! You may think I'm crazy for having fun doing Greek homework and reading about systematic theology, and that's fine. Maybe I am. But I'm okay with that because I'd rather be crazy and happy than sane and miserable, I suppose. :)

Foundations of Theology of Ministry is way too long of a name for a class, but it's a great class, nonetheless. It's a new introductory class that's just being taught for the first time this semester, with Jeff Childers at the helm. So at the moment, we're reading things about how to think theologically, and we're doing exercise to familiarize ourselves with different aspects of GST life (the library, study habits, talking some about spiritual disciplines). It's not a heavy workload, and it's been a good class to help us first year students get to know one another a bit better. And Jeff's great. He's got such a wonderfully dry sense of humor that I cherish. He's an amazingly smart guy, but he's also got such a heart for ministering to his students and helping us in our journey of spiritual formation. That's something that can be said about nearly everyone here at ACU (if not everyone), and it makes me so thankful to be here.

I'm also taking beginning Greek with Ken Cukrowski, which has been really good so far. I've taken a year and a half of Greek before, but it was five years ago that I finished it up, so I decided to start at the very beginning (Sound of Music, anyone??) again and get a good review, since I'd forgotten so much. So at the moment, it's a relatively easy class for me, though I know there will come a point in the not-too-distant future at which I'll have to actually start studying. It's great to get back into a language again. Something I've missed. And Ken's also a great teacher who makes what can be a very difficult and frustrating experience for many into one that's still challenging but enjoyable and not overwhelming.

And my favorite class... Systematic Theology I with Fred Aquino. Now I'm not quite sure yet if I'm enjoying this class because I may have some potential for theology or in spite of the fact that I don't have any potential for it, and I just don't realize it yet. It's one of those classes where I think I'm understanding what I'm reading and how the discussion goes, but it could be that I'm just so completely lost that I don't even realize how lost I am. Make sense at all? The class is definitely a challenging one on many levels. To start off with, there's plenty of reading to do. Thankfully, this last week was the heaviest as far as reading (with a 300 page book for the week), and it'll slow down a tiny bit on that in the future. But it's also challenging in that when we're finished with our marathon three-hour-long class on Monday afternoons, I'm not sure I can think or talk straight because my brain's been challenged to wrap itself around so many various aspects of an idea or an argument. And that's one reason why I'm loving it! And I definitely enjoyed the reading for last Monday's class. That 300 page book, "Canonical Theism," was amazing. Not yet sure exactly where I fall on everything it was discussing, but it had some very powerful things to say to Christendom today. And I have a lot of respect for Fred. He's a man who has been gifted with an amazing intellect which he pushes to its furthest reaches in order to serve God and the church. He's misunderstood by many, but what he pursues and stands for is truth, even when it flies in the face of our comfortable traditions and misunderstandings. I think I can learn a lot from him.

Well, there's more to be said, but that'll have to wait for another time. I've got to go finish getting ready and then head to grad chapel. It's a weekly Wednesday occurrence, often followed by lunch at one place or another, and I've already come to treasure that time in worship and fellowship with my fellow students and my instructors. And today I'll be reading a poem and leading a prayer. So, off to dry my hair I go! Later!

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