Seminary Notes 4: a harvest of Greek

Over and again, my pencil scratches out the same strange symbols in a chart with crooked lines.

NS    ος        η/α        ον
GS    ου       ης/ας     ου

This quarter in seminary I’m taking Greek. Last quarter I took Interpretive Methods. I loved it and at the same time felt a smidge like a slacker for only taking one class. Today I’m drowning in thankfulness that I don’t have another class along with Greek. Greek is memorizing. Scratching out paradigms (that’s what the above barely-begun chart is called) until they are perfect. Memorizing vocabulary and breathing marks and articles.

Earlier this week, I flipped book and discovered I’m going to be memorizing paradigms for a long time. Chart after chart to learn equals day after day of practice. Bits of knowledge will eventually compile into a body of information that I can use. Just this week, I actually translated a few small phrases from Greek to English. The work is a gift; seminary was a closely-held dream for years. The gift is also the work; it means nothing if I won’t put in the time.

Resources for Hold Up Weekend

My friend Megan Anduzlis and I have started doing Hold Up Weekends to help believers “hold up” for a minute and think before responding. We share a resource, wait a few days to give everyone time to read/listen to the resource and think about it, and then hop on an Instagram live to discuss the content. You can watch the last one we did here.

One of the goals is that we practice thinking about what we are consuming instead of being content with a quick reaction. We want to think well and converse graciously; since this is not our natural reaction we have to cultivate this approach. This is a space to practice those skills.

Exercises in Advent Resistance

This month I’ve been reading Advent by Fleming Rutledge. The book is a collection of her writings and sermons on Advent which she insists is not just the coming of baby Jesus, but the “once and future coming of Jesus Christ.” I’ve made my way slowly, one tiny section each night before sleeping, and it wakes me from my stupor. It is easy for me to believe the stories on the surface of living: Christmas is commercial, next year will be better, I am what I make of myself. Marinating in those lies makes me sluggish, unwilling and unprepared to move with the demands and truths of life.

Instead of being lulled to sleep, I am called to be awake. If I was dead before Christ, now I am alive. As one who is alive, I am a child of the day, called to self-control and putting on armor. Rutledge frequently references 1 Thessalonians 4 in her Advent teaching, a passage speaking of judgment and relief that sounds unfamiliar to my Christmas ears. Because my mind associates Advent with a baby, with good news, with hope, I need her reminders that yes, Advent is about hope, but it is hope in the face of horror.

RBG and How We Think

A few years ago, a friend loaned me a copy of My Own Words by Ruth Bader Ginsburg. I carried around that book of speeches and lectures and briefs for a couple of weeks, absorbing Ginsburg’s work and becoming fascinated with her as a person.

I went on to read Ruth Bader Ginsburg: A Life and fell in love with RBG. Lucky for you, you don’t have to read hundreds of pages. You can watch RBG, a 2018 documentary, or On The Basis of Sex to learn more about her life and all she has accomplished. America was a completely different world for women before RBG. I appreciate that work but spending time with her life taught me to admire her as a woman.

Here are some things I greatly admire about RBG:
-her ability to foster strong friendships with people who disagreed with her
-her marriage to Marty
-her work ethic
-her commitment to her beliefs/standards
-her lifetime of work
-her brilliant mind and logic
-her integrity
-her unswerving commitment to lead others to incremental growth

My Why and How of Reading

For the past few years, I’ve shared the books I’ve read on Instagram. I save them in a highlight, occasionally offering commentary on the book or mentioning who it would most benefit. Often, I get comments on how much I read in response.

I remember a reading competition in elementary school (Did they combine reading with a competition? You know I was there.) that I won by reading over 100 books. It shocked people and I felt judged. Either it seemed they did not believe I had read the books or it was impossible that I could have read them or didn’t I simply have something better to do?

It’s entirely possible that the commenters meant nothing besides congratulations and a teeny bit of shock. But we pick up shame and wear it as an undergarment, hidden under other clothes, from a young age and that’s exactly what I did. I’ve always felt a teeny bit embarrassed at how much I read.

I do a good job shrugging it off now most of the time. I love to read. I read quickly. I choose to read over doing other things. This habit has been a great benefit for seminary which comes with a part-time job of reading.

Resources for Gender Series on Instagram

If you’ve been following along on Instagram, you know that we’ve been working slowly through a conversation on our gender theology. Week by week, we’ve tackled one topic at a time and I’ve loved having the space and the interaction for the discussion. This week, we’re going to discuss “headship” and the problems with using the term and I wanted to be able to share links with you.

I attempted to choose leading complementarian thinkers and theologians to give you the best views that there are. I have also tried to find definitions of headship or a related topic. When I point out how I disagree with them on this topic, I am not discrediting them as people or their ministries as viable parts of the kingdom. I encourage you to read all the posts for context and tone.

Seminary Notes 3: Pick Your Pace

While we were at the beach last week, I finished up summer quarter finals. I wrote two final papers, one on Hamilton (which was a major win for 2020) and an exegetical project on the Davidic covenant. I also took an exam, which was a timed series of four essay questions. It was brutal and I was glad I got to view the ocean while I was writing. Second quarter is finished even if I don’t have grades yet.

During the summer quarter I made the decision to only take one class in the fall quarter. It was hard to decide to slow my pace but the words of one of my professors were instrumental in making my decision. We had a guest speak to the class and she commented on how long it had taken her to finish her degree because of her job and her family. My professor calmly replied, “We don’t apologize for things like that.” Instantly I remembered that this isn’t a race.