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She Does Seminary: The First Week

School is...great. In 3 days of classes, I've already learned more (or at least more relevant & cohesive) church history than in all my years at church.

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One of my classes is called "Teaching the Faith," and the prof started by stating that the way we learn something is different than the thing we come to know (there is some sort of Latin saying about this), and talked about how this is relevant to faith/Christianity. As he shared his own story, he said that his first post-seminary assignment was to teach in Burundi in the early 80s, after major genocide. The church had lost an entire generation and had no educated leaders. So he arrived with the mandate of teaching theology/history/ministry to 5 high school graduates. With no textbooks outside the Bible.

He was struck by the fact that Burundi was considered one of the most Christian nations in Africa, and yet was marked by such violence. "What faith is it that they know?" he asked himself, "and how on earth did they learn it?"

I feel like he is asking the right kinds of questions, and as he's been asking them for years, I'm looking forward to learning from him.

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As an MDiv student, I am required to attend prayer/chapel every day that I am on campus. This means that in the past week (including the retreat* the weekend before), I have attended more "church" than I did in the entirety of May through August. It feels strange, but good (mostly).

I'm quite certain my favourite prayer time will be Tuesday evening Taize prayer. I cried this past week, in what I think is a rather healthy (and somewhat perplexing) way. It is rare that I cry in church, unlike one of my dear friends who has said, "Pretty much, I go to church to cry." I respect and envy that she feels free to be emotionally vulnerable in a church/chapel/sanctuary.

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I have learned the Greek alphabet. Next up: whole words.

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I've made a few new friends, and rekindled a couple friendships from the past. The interpersonal dynamic of any new situation is the most stressful to me; I hope I navigate this one well, that I do not listen to the impulses that speak of hierarchy and "coolness" and trying hard.


*in typical Beth-fashion, I wiped-out at the retreat and maybe cracked a bone near my elbow. Maybe. The initial x-rays show fluid in the joint, but no visible fracture. I go back next week to confirm whether or not there is an "occult fracture" - until then the doctor's advice is, "Use it as much as you can; try not to land on it."

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