Sunday, September 14, 2008

I made it!

 I just survived my first week of classes at Columbia Theological Seminary and I'm heading into another one. We've already had two quizzes in Hebrew, plus for my Wednesday class we're preparing a group presentation. I'm so excited about all of my classes. Old Testament has turned out to be more than a bible study, more than a history class, something more like Bible enrichment and history of theology. For my first elective I chose a seminar on worship and music. I'm excited about the way we will look at the history of worship in the church and how to find direction for churches in today's world--I know sounds right up my alley, huh? The best part though is that we have to do a project and write a paper, both of which scare me a little bit, but at the same time I was hoping one semester during my studies here to take an independent study in worship to do just this, and now I will be able to do it for a class with the help of others and then present it to people who could possibly use it. My other elective, another seminar, takes a look at the possible ways that a church can take on "public ministry." The professors presented an interesting syllabus to us, showing how we will learn about theory and then have to apply it to a congregation which we will study. I can't tell you how blessed I feel to be passionate about everything I'm studying. Discovering the meanings of Hebrew words and their double or sometimes multiple meanings, learning to read and asses the strength of activities in an average church congregation, being forced to think about theology and worship and God's abounding grace and love as I drink everything in from the wonder surrounding me.
 And yet that's only looking at my academic life. For the last two years, socializing always felt like work; some cultural or language barriers inhibited either myself or my friends. The "work" of friendship never feels wasted and becomes very gratifying, but still, it's always hard. So here I am, living on campus in the building in these pictures with several of the other students in my classes and in the community of roughly 300 students. We eat together, laugh together, study together, and pray together. I've been attending a 6:30am prayer service M-F, MTThF we have worship at 10am followed by fellowship and coffee at 10:30. You all know me and how I love routine and especially eating and waking at the same time. I've been eating with my friends in the refectory(shown here, no,that's not a foto from HP), whether I enjoy their good meals or bring my own, we enjoy each other's company and get to know new people. Wednesday night we had an awesome semi-spontaneous improvisation class lead by some of my fellow seminarians. Imagine "Who's line" where all ten of us were just getting up and taking turns in the game. Incredible, my friends are Hilarious! Plus, I will be part of a woman's bible study and an "intentional community"--something like a bible study, but God's blessings abound everywhere in my life. I could not ask for more.
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