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The positive spin: I've got a nice quiet weekend to myself wherein I can get a lot of homework done and also clean up some of this apartment.

The downside: No Becca around until Sunday night.

Originally, I was intending to go to Grove City with her this weekend to attend her former roomates' shared senior recital, but between Umass homecoming being two weeks ago and the fact that I'm overloaded with homework, it's just not a smart idea for me to spend an entire weekend racing about the Northeast US. So she went - leaving about an hour ago - and I'm staying put. This'll be our first weekend apart in marriage, shock horror, and it'll happen again in another two weeks when I go on the retreat weekend with our church's Youth Group as part of the Alpha course we're taking them through. Both this weekend and the upcoming retreat weekend it's a Friday to Sunday trip, so we'll be even :P Not that this is a major problem for us or anything, or that I'm complaining; it's just weird - real life is happening! Who'da thunk it?

Christian Ethics (online class) - still need to do all the little assignments and the two exams, and it's all due sometime in mid to late November.

OT Exegesis - our first quiz was this week (25% of our grade), and I don't know how well I did. There was a fair bit of guesswork in the translation & grammar portion, but there was enough content of other sorts that even if I bombed those, I probably still passed. Overall, it's definitely my hardest course, and I'll be glad when it's over, although I'll have to do another one of these classes with another part of the OT with the same professor next semester.

History of Christian Worship - much easier class, a lot of the material is already pretty familiar to me, though it has been fun digging a little deeper into the liturgy and seeing how it was developed through history and then reformed/thrown out the window by various Protestant "reformers." Studies like this make me like protestantism less and less, so I praise God for the English Church's integrity during those centuries, that there is still an historic church besides Rome and the East that I can join!

Anglican Ethos & Identity - learning a lot more in this class, and it's quite thought-provoking, especially in class discussions. No other class will as candidly ask questions like "why aren't you [Eastern] Orthodox?" or "why aren't you Roman Catholic?" or "is Scripture really sufficient for understanding what the Church is?" or "what are the implications of Apostolic Succession?" I get the sense that this class last year was much more dynamic, thanks to a wider range of perspectives. Our class is just under ten people, and I'm probably the most Catholic-minded person there. There is another Anglo-Catholic in the room, but he's still discovering what that means, so one should always take such claims with a grain of salt. When people discover new things, or change their opinions about important stuff, there's usually a pendulum swing which moderates out over time, so I don't put much stock in a newcomer to Anglicanism claiming to be Anglo-Catholic already. This class certainly is geared toward helping us all define our positions more clearly by confronting us with challenging issues and making us think.

Preaching 1 - sometimes interesting, sometimes dull... I'm not sure I'm crazy about this class. I think I'd be just as happy reading the two books he assigned and being done with it. This is one side of Protestantism I don't like so much: treating preaching like what church worship is all about. There is no sense of balance between Word and Sacrament anymore. The original Reformers tried to keep that balance, but their legacies have not lived up to that. Certainly, there are good things I'm learning about preaching, but there are also times that I feel I'm not getting the full story. If there was no Sacrament of Eucharist to celebrate in church, then this would probably be useful, but as it is, these folks here doing really grasp the concept of preaching the gospel without words.

Pastoral Counseling - this is a very easy class, as it turns out. So between this, preaching, the Anglican class, and the history class, the burden feels relatively light, leaving only exegesis as an honestly difficult course. The lectures in this class have been alarmingly helpful in putting together much of the pastoral and theological material that I've already studied in other classes. It's good to be able to synthesize one's education in its final year, and this course seems to be doing just that!

Also, I discovered that I don't have as many classes left as I thought - only 5 rather than 6. One of them isn't offered in the Spring, though, so I'll still need to do an online course, which I'll do over the summer. The result of this is that I will not graduate in May, sadly, but that's not really a big deal. The goal of this education is to qualify me for Ordination, so if I don't get the diploma for an extra 6 months or year, that's not a big issue. Only my pride will be hurt, and that's not the sort of pride one is supposed to have.

Although, things are slightly more complicated than that. There is a sixth class which I haven't taken for the Anglican track of the MDiv degree. I thought I'd be able to get a hand-wave-move-along for it due to other classes I've taken (Medieval Spirituality in place of Ascetical Theology). In talking to the director of the program yesterday, however, I discovered that it mightn't be so simple. I'm going to email her the course syllabus from the Medieval class so she can see what we did cover, and then she'll give me a reading list and we'll do kind of a Directed Study to make up what I didn't learn already, and follow it up with a summary paper. So I've got some work to do with that, but at least it's not the equivalent of a full sixth course.

Over the course of my time, here, of course, I've come across a few books that I figure ought to read at some point. A couple of them are course books that I was supposed to have read, but didn't, or only skimmed a little. A lot of them are just other books that I heard about and thought would be important for informing me on various theological or pastoral or other topics. Two of them are Icelandic Sagas. I get around.

Oh, the point of saying that was that if there are books you think I should read that'd help me learn about the world, history, the Church, or anything else, suggest them! :)


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