Tuesday, September 04, 2007
Last first day
I went around today telling everybody it was my last first day of school. I guess that's a misnomer whenever I start that doctoral program. But still, it's the last first day of school at Asbury. If all goes according to plan, I'll graduate in December with a Masters in Divinity. So, in order to get there, I'm taking three classes, nine credit hours. It's a very different semester for me in both content and medium. First off, no more bible classes. These are all required ministry elective credits I procrastinated until the end. And second, there's one on-campus class, one online and one independent study.

Once a week I'll go to Wilmore for an evening class on Tuesdays. That's for Urban Leadership. Gotta have a leadership credit for an MDiv. Honestly, a class on urban ministry never would have interested me in all the time I lived in Wilmore, but now that I'm in the Oh-5, it has a certain immediate relevance. In my previous lives in Seattle and DC, I came to love cities, and from my experience years ago in Tijuana the desire to serve the poor has stuck with me like an unsatisfied itch. We'll be reading through Urban Ministry: The Kingdom, the City and the People of God by Conn and Ortiz. One comment from the professor tonight has stuck with me. What I heard (not to be convinced with the exact words that came out of her mouth), was "What God has been doing in the season of seminary isn't something new. It's a continuation, a refining process, of what he's been doing already throughout my life." I'm gonna need to chew on that some more.

Next, I've got an online class, Sacramental Theology: Christ in the Church. Gotta have a worship class for an MDiv. From what I can tell so far, it's all about communicating the person of Jesus in corporate worship. It looks like it'll be some heady theological stuff. I look forward, though, to processing through the actions and symbols and words we use in corporate worship. I just hope it doesn't turn me into a church service snob. I remember taking a hermeneutics course my final semester in college, and it was the longest time before I could hear a sermon without picking it completely apart. I'm sure Jackie will keep me straight on that. On the one hand, all the blogging experience may help with the online format, but on the other, I'm a bad commenter on other people's blogs. So we'll see what happens.

The other class is an independent study about evangelism. Gotta have a mission/evangelism credit for an MDiv. Typically, I cringe at the word "evangelism," but Aaron's been making me give it a second thought. Just what if evangelism isn't just a particular spiritual gift for a few, but part of the process of becoming like Jesus for all of us? What if its not much more than loving who you are as a Christian and what you do as a Christian, and sharing that? What really has me excited about this is that I'll be working on what evangelism looks like in this particular neighborhood, right here on Twelfth Street and surrounding. Aaron's got me reading Tex Sample for this. I know that if I was sitting in a classroom hearing about this stuff I'd be bored to tears. But the idea of walking my street with some intentionality has me interested. I also know that the thought of going across the street, knocking on the door of a stranger and saying, "Hi, my name is Peter. I live across the street. And I want to take 'Love your neighbor as yourself' literally," scares the hell out of me. Pray for me.

So that's school for the next three months.

posted by Peter at 11:36 PM
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