Now that I am two weeks into the Spring Semester I want to share a bit about my classes and schedule in general this semester. It is going to be a very busy semester, and yet I am so excited about the possibilities.
My classes include:
- From Text to Sermon
- Pauline Letters & Mission (Lecture and Small Group)
- Systematic Theology
- MA Colloquium II (primarily on research — prep for writing our MA research paper; great discussions are a bonus)
- Diaconal Ministry: Formation for Ministry
- Reformation History
- Gender, Power, & Leadership (4 week module course on Monday afternoons)
I knew going into the semester, that I would almost certainly love my Diaconal Ministry and Gender, Power, & Leadership courses (and I do); however, I have to admit I am a bit surprised at how much I love the rest of the classes too. I was a bit intimidated by the thought of Systematic Theology (at 7:30 a.m. no less!), but I am LOVING the reading and finding the class discussions very interesting. Next week is the first time we meet in small groups (in part, to evaluate our first papers, gulp!), so we’ll see how that goes as well. Now if there were enough hours in the days to really read and dig into all the books recommended (not just the required ones) for these classes, that would be awesome!
Unless you happen to be a classmate (or Wartburg grad?), you may not think that this is a light load, but it is (10 graduate school credits), and I did it on purpose. In part, as someone living with auto-immune disease, I needed to give myself the time and flexibility to respond to the cues my body gives me (like chronic muscle pain, exhaustion and more recently chronic headaches) to slow down or do (time-consuming but effective) alternative therapies. In a way the fact that I live with chronic illness gives me a valid reason for simply balancing my life. The times I go into a “flare” condition are likely the times any individual should slow down and do some good self care. I just have the blessing of having no doubts about it, and generally no choice in the matter! So, in order to still put everything I can into my academic work (which I LOVE), and take care of myself and my family, I decided cut back on classes just a bit this semester.
The decision to cut back a few credit hours was affirmed when I needed to start working the five Work Study hours I am allowed. I am still grateful I did not work them last semester as settling in as a family along with our first semester of seminary classes was challenging enough; however, this semester it simply was not an economic option not to work them. I am trying to keep an open mind and heart as I am working at the St. Mark’s Community Center in downtown Dubuque with the before and after school programs at one of the “downtown” schools. This morning I had several bright smiling elementary students teaching me how to play new games, and quite enjoyed it. I am sure, as usual, I will be blessed beyond my expectations.
It may not happen consistently until I finish my module class, and can devote a bit of time on Monday afternoons, but I do hope to engage this blog more with what I am reading and learning. I imagine that there will be many things to share from my Diaconal Ministry class, and I have already started keeping track of what I call “Diaconal Ministry” sightings in my other classes (servant ministry and the theology behind it is practically everywhere when I start looking!).
If there is anything you would like to hear about, especially those of you following along from “back home,” please let me know!
Love and belief ~