The First Full Week of Seminary

Lordy, Lord, Lord. What a week.

My first class took place a little over a week ago. At the start, let me go over my current course schedule. Introduction to Christian History, Old Testament 1, Hebrew 1, and Thinking About God (i.e. Introduction to Systematic Theology). When I say Lordy, Lord, Lord, I mean that in a good way. For the first week, I have been getting use to being back in school. Luckily I love absorbing information (though how well I absorb it is another matter). Some of the differences between Seminary and my undergraduate education is a) I am actually showing up to class now and b) instead of problem sets, I’m reading. And by reading, I mean I am reading. Most of my nights involve eating dinner between 5 and 6 and then staying in my room till midnight, reading. Part of this has to do with my attempt at limiting the text books I bring home on weekends but a part of it also has to do with the amount of information that I am being asked to read – easily 600 pages a week. And, because I need to take notes to absorb information, this is not the usual fast reading that I am capable of. It’s slow, methodical, and I’m under the full impression that I will not fully memorize what I have read until I digest it again before the quiz. If I had a quarter for every time a professor asked a question about what I read and how clueless I looked….

But I am enjoying my time here at LTSP. I’m learning different professors, their lecture styles, what they view as important, and what they want from their students. Each professor is a tiny bit different. I am finding one common theme is the attempt for students to be able to look at a bible verse or a piece of writing and deconstruct it not only into it’s specific parts but also try to figure out the assumptions that created that piece of writing, it’s context, how to apply it, and also the consequence of said writing. In a sense, we are to grok what we are reading (sci-fi reference for the win!). To be honest, this can be quite overwhelming at first. In fact, it is still very overwhelming while I think about it. But I’m at least keeping up with the reading, participating in class, and hoping that by the time my first papers are due (3 weeks from now), I might sound like I know what I’m talking about. Here’s hoping at least.

One thing that I will admit to not participating in on campus, much, is chapel service. There is a matins service at 7:30, a service around noon, and a compline service at 10pm. I will make Eucharist service, and I’ve been to one compline, but matins and compline are really not on my schedule at the moment. I find myself sitting in the library at 11:50, hearing the “WORSHIP WITH US” bells ringing, and if I’m in the middle of my book, I’ll just keep reading. One thing that I have been curious about is, now that I’m in field experience (more about that later), how I will handle not having a worship life where I just attend rather than actually work at. I’m attempting to establish that at Seminary but I’m not sure how easy it will be with the constant rotating worship types, styles, preachers, and presiders. I know it’s early in the school year, and I will mostly establish a connection to the people I am worshipping with rather than who is actually leading service, but I am curious to see how that aspect of my need for worship will develop over the next few months.

I was hoping that, at some point, to highlight the interesting things I’ve discovered during lectures, sections, classes, reading, etc. I’m still hoping to establish that at some point but, at the moment, it seems that most of my blogging will take place during my downtime waiting for the bus to take me back and forth between NYC and Philly.