Spring Semester 2012 Wrap Up (or almost done)

Early in February I gave a bit of an intro to my Spring
2012 classes
. I also pretty much promised to blog more —
sorry about that, but something had to give with the self care
thing, even with a slight cut in credit hours this semester. I hope
to make up for it over the summer — not because I will have so
much more free time but because I will need to have ways to share
and reflect when I am not in community discussing what I am reading
and experiencing. (Also, I am doing many blog articles in the next
few weeks, including posting many versions of my school assignments
from the past year, and setting them to post throughout the summer
so that should help). Posts like this one that reflect back on the
semester are as much for myself to look back on in a few years as
they are for other’s to read. Having said that I hope it is helpful
as an insight into my experience this year at seminary. As the
title says I am not actually quite done for the semester due to
having to take an extension in two classes in order to finish final
papers after set backs from illness and family. However, classes
have ended and there is a mood of celebration and reflection on
campus, so I am going to write this now before time moves past this
mood. Hands down my favorite class this semester was my Diaconal
Ministry class! Yes, we read and wrote about the history of
diaconal ministry through the centuries, but more than that we
shared and spoke the stories to each other as well as speaking the
possibilities and the theology of the work we are called to do. I
will miss this class and the group that gathered every Wednesday
morning more than anything else this semester. As you can imagine
this class very much affirmed my calling as a diaconal minister. My
most challenging class this semester was (is?) Systematic Theology.
I still have my final paper to finish writing and a few annotated
bibliography entries to wrap up, but knowing me I’m actually
enjoying that part. I love reading theological work, and discussing
theology … I am not a systematic theologian. (I am not sure I am
a systematic anything!) I found the discussions (we really didn’t
have lecture as the lectures were wrapped in the midst of scenario
discussions for the most part) challenging at best and frustrating
most of the time. The frustration was in part intentional as we are
challenged to be able to clearly articulate our confessions and
beliefs. However, I was usually frustrated beyond that. So I will
say that I will always appreciated *having taken* systematic
theology even while I didn’t appreciate it during most of the
classes. πŸ™‚ And again to be clear — I LOVE the reading and am
grateful to have discovered so many amazing theologians and their
work (just that the process in class was literally painful at
times). It did also make me realize what a difference there is
between the “book/paper writing” me and the
“speaking/blogging/emailing” me. I am guessing that while those two
writing/proclamation styles will never meet, they will become
closer over the years. The class that I was most intimidated about
at the beginning of the semester was Text to Sermon. OK, I was down
right scared about preaching. Yet, I knew that not only do I need
the skill for chaplaincy preaching, I also simply need to be
prepared to proclaim God’s Word in the form of a sermon. If I had
not already been planning to take this 1st year sermon class I
would have registered for it after returning from my Diaconal
Ministry Formation Event
this past January. At DMFE I
learned that not only is it within tradition for diaconal ministers
to preach, but that we have a special calling to bring attention to
those on the borders of society when we do so — we are to be
diaconal in our preaching as well as our servant ministry. This
first class was only a one credit class, and yet it was very
transformative to me in that it allowed me to truly engage in this
process and look forward to preaching in various contexts in the
future. I plan to continue to read sermons regularly and stay
engaged in the practice of meditating on the lectionary texts.
Having said that I also look forward to when I can write sermons in
a little less time and with less anxiety than was involved in my
first one. By the time we got to the delivery the anxiety was
actually a lot less πŸ™‚ and thankfully I had a wonderfully
supportive small group that listened to it and gave great feedback!
The point of my MA Colloquium this semester … Pauline Letters …
Reformation History … and then there was my involvement in
Persistent Voice this semester …

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