Wowsers, this week has been a killer. I had forgotten how difficult is was to concentrate in class when you stay up so very late studying so that you can participate in class. Fortunately, a report due today was postponed until Monday; otherwise, I'd've spend yet another day in class glassy-eyed, punchy, and dazed.
While this week has been difficult, it has also been richly rewarding. I have two classes this week, one in the morning from 9:00 - 12:30 PM and another from 1:30 - 5:00 PM. In the morning class, I am taking a practical theology class that is teaching me to due pericope analysis using an acronymial method called the V.O.T.E.R analysis. Using this method, you are able to been discern the intent of the passage in order to reveal the vision of the author by understanding the obligation, tendencies, environment, and rules/roles being communicated. Yesterday I used this analysis on Mark 3:20-30 where Jesus is called Beelzebul by the Scribes for his casting out demons. After my presentation in class, the professor implied I was the only one who got this analysis right, and after class called my presentation "Brilliant." I was on Cloud 9 for a long while.
In my afternoon class, we are working to pinpoint our DMin project. Since beginning this process last semester, my project has had a few incarnations from creating a cirriculum around a liberal and progressive discipleship program to revitalizing a Sunday school using postmodern and emergent concepts. Yesterday I presented an overview that is even more narrow in focus than my other attempts. Ultimately I don't have to decide on a final project until September; the goal of the course is to teach me how to decide what to do and the steps involved in presenting a prospectus to be approved by my professors come September.
Having said that, I may have found my project. I presented yesterday a prospectus that creates newcomer/new member classes to be done before a newcomer joins the church and classes after a member joins. These classes would focus on telling individual stories and narratives, giving history to the other faith stories in the congregation, membership guidelines and expectations, spiritual gift inventories, discipleship, and mission and outreach. Using this project, I could employ emergent and missional concepts into the cirriculum (where my heart lay). I am more excited about this particular direction of our project than I have been of any other. This may, indeed, be my project.
I have another class that begins a week from Monday that has me busy writing a paper. That class is called Thriving in the Digital Age through Collaborative Leadership. I have to write this report based upon the current leadership challenges and opportunities in my ministry context in light of six books assigned for the class. I will finish this report over the weekend; I may even finish it by tomorrow (hopefully).
I am planning on being in Cresskill Sunday afternoon to see Jay and Maggie (and to bring home laundry to wash). I will also need to pick up a raincoat. It has rained practically everyday I've been here and its getting annoying.
So that's it--my week in class. Today should be light: My morning class will be discussing Elaine Graham's Theological Reflection: Methods. My afternoon class will be full of my other classmates presentations on their prospective prospecituses (did I spell that right?).
Two final notes, I had originally planned to write up my experiences daily--obviously I've only been doing that every other day. That seems to be working for me and will continue to do this.
My next week will be a lot like this week with the same classes--just more intense. I'll be sure to keep you informed as it happens. Keep praying for me that this week will be a blessing to you, me, and all involved. And, I hope your Sunday with Lauren is a blessing too.
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