The Semester Bends to My Will ~ BitterSweetLife

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

The Semester Bends to My Will

I’m gradually settling this semester’s routine at school. It’s not an extremely “comfortable” or “exciting” routine at this point, but I’m hoping that some creative tweaking will make it at least marginally so.

I kick things off with Greek in the morning, reminding myself of Martin Luther’s encouraging words: “Greek is the vessel that contains the wine.” The Greek sessions are overseen by Dr. W., who played college basketball in Ireland, and explains that he was the “sharp-shooting sixth man” who would get called in to rain down threes late in the game, until the opposing team started guarding him, at which point he would get benched again. A motivating story for all you aspiring Irish hoopsters.

After Greek is my hour-long coffee break, during which I’m forced to go to a Starbucks—and not even the typical freestanding, global-conglomerate-in-a-strip-mall Starbucks, but a Starbucks imbedded in the local Price Chopper. My cool quotient takes a hit every time I go there, but what can I do? I need that espresso.

During the coffee break, a pretense of studying is maintained. Books are spread-eagled on the table, highlighters are in hand. The ultimate goal, though, is probably to talk about theology with a friend. (Notice I said “probably.” Don’t get me wrong, I go to Starbucks to study.) Emerging Church questions typically emerge... (“Is Spencer Burke a ‘heretic?’” “Is theological certainty a reasonable goal?” “Is there such a thing as an ‘emerging Calvinist?’”) Cool theology talk, coupled with coffee and the facade of studiousness, creates a small reservoir of calm that I can tap later, if, say, I stumble into a lecture dryer than a martini in Death Valley. Not that that ever happens.

Following the coffee break, I head to New Testament, also taught by Dr. W.—he of Greek syntactical and Irish basketball fame. Then it’s lunch break, accompanied by a brief window of library time in which I could theoretically produce a blog post. From the library I head to Theology & Philosophy of Missions, where we meticulously cross-examine page-long definitions of mysterious words like “culture” and “worldview,” only to discover with mild disappointment, that they do, in fact, mean what we always thought they did. But this class began at a blazingly slow pace, and we intend to maintain it.

Once I leave Missions, the academic day is over. Slowly, I am bending this simple routine to the force of my own will. I have resolved that my daily schedule, and my classes, will serve me—no matter their innate predispositions. I will tame these academic entities, will beat them until they wait on me like valets. This is the point of education, isn’t it? To learn well, to think hard, and be invigorated?

Occasionally my fledgling routine is broken by some startling incident, such as seeing a 250-lb guy wearing one of my favorite T-shirts, or hearing coffee beans being ground up in a hidden room at the library. Such events are quickly assimilated into my plan for continuing education. They add spice.

I have resolved to learn what I can this semester, and enjoy it—anything that gets in my way will be assimilated.



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7 comments:

colleen said...

It sounds like a great schedule...and so completely opposite from what i'm doing! Perhaps that's why it appeals to me so much. I would love to study Greek...and not have to sit through classes where i'm told that everything i believe in is a joke...
But i'm not bitter...nooo. (;

colleen

Dan said...

When you go to Starbucks, what do you normally get?

Ariel said...

"It sounds like a great schedule...and so completely opposite from what i'm doing!"

See, I need to hear from people like you, Colleen. It helps rein in the critic in me. Thanks for the reminder...studying theology & ministry is a privilege, and sure beats my old Organic Chemistry classes.

"When you go to Starbucks, what do you normally get?"

Because I am poor, I typically get a "grande" coffee, "bold" style (i.e., a medium, dark coffee)...but when I need a real pick-me-up, I get a mocha. When I strike it rich, I will exclusively drink mochas.

I take it you're a Starbucks man yourself, Dan?

Ched said...

Brilliant.

I also attmpted to bend my semester to my will, but that was before I got to my "easy-A" Contemporary evangelism class and found out about the 25 page research paper, and before I got to Hebrew, where I realized that gutturals, silent shevas, and the hiphel were going to not only bend but beat me into submission. I do still go to starbucks though.

Mathias said...

Sounds lovely, I say.
I'd love to take some classes in theology. Good to get some real perspective and causality thrown into the scandinavian pentecostal tradition.

At the moment, I study Icelandic, Norwegian literature, Conveying literature and Nordic literature. And after my one year off, it's GREAT to be back in the corridors and the libraries! =)

Andrew Simone said...

Some days I think students are morally obliged to not like there classes until after they are finished.

Ariel said...

"...I realized that gutturals, silent shevas, and the hiphel were going to not only bend but beat me into submission. I do still go to starbucks though."

Ha! At least you have that. Though I agree, thouse silent shevas packed quite a punch. (I took Hebrew my first year.)

"Some days I think students are morally obliged to not like there classes until after they are finished."

Now that is not a bad perspective. If I went into each semester with this credo in mind, think of the mental pain it would save me. ;)

In response to Mathias, et all, I had better clarify that these topics are very dear to my heart. I really am thrilled to be studying Theology, Missions, etc. It's just the method of delivery that occasionally lets me down.

And to be fair, finding an "appropriate" way of conveying profound truth is not an easy task.

 

Culture. Photos. Life's nagging questions. - BitterSweetLife