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.

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

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.

How Story Shows Us the Way

Moses ended his ministry leading the Israelites out of Egypt and to the Promised Land with a brilliant sermon and song. When he finished the song he said, “Take to heart all the words by which I am warning you today, that you may command them to your children, that they may be careful to do all the words of this law. For it is no empty word for you, but your very life, and by this word you shall live long in the land that you are going over the Jordan to possess.” Deuteronomy 32:46-47.

Moses had already spent the entire book reminding the people of their story. He reminded them how God had brought them “out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery” (Deuteronomy 8:14) and he reminded them of how the law is supposed to shape the people they become in the midst of people who don’t know God. It’s his time to die but the story of the people will go on. As they go, it’s important that they remember what happened before.

Living in the Age of the Internet: 2 ways to keep focus

I’ve been spending this past week working on a seminary application. Since this has moved from a dream that I’ve had for multiple years to the first steps of a goal, I’ve been hit with fear. What if they don’t accept me? What if I’ve forgotten how to be in school? What if I don’t have time to work on actual class assignments? But I’m committed to not making decisions out of fear so I’m still writing essays and asking a few people for references.

I don’t think seminary is for everyone. However, if we went around stating our wildest dreams I’d love to sit on a translation committee when I’m in my 60s or 70s. I want to learn Hebrew and Greek. I’d love to learn to fly planes and contribute to missions work. I’d like more ministry training. I’d love to do research and eventually get my Ph.D (I already have an idea for a dissertation). I want to settle down in a community, serve locally, and leave behind a lifetime of work that disciples the people I meet in real life and the ones that come after me.