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Entries in Seminary Notes (118)

Thursday
Apr192018

It's D-Day

Or, shall I say "G-day?" 

I write my Greek exam this afternoon. I'm all studied out. There comes a point when, on the day of the exam, when you start studying and realizing you have forgotten little things, you may start to panic. Panic on the day of an exam is never a good thing. When I am finished writing, I shall treat myself to potato chips. I've been trying to watch what I eat lately, and this will be my treat. I think potato chips ought to be a food group of their own.

There is an "art" to biblical translation. When you start looking at how the language was put together, and how the differences create limitations to translation, it's evident that there are those whose are just better at translating. A good vocabulary in English is a good thing to have if you're translating from any language. Now that I am getting better at reading the Greek New Testament, I can really see how it enhances devotional study. All those little nuances add to the meaning.

I have loved getting back to basics; back to the foundation of the faith by being more in Scripture. In the past, especially through blogging, I know I wasted a lot of time worrying about having something "to say" to the latest hot button issue. Right now, if you're a woman, and you aren't writing about women, whether it's abuse or equality, you may as well not speak. I have spent a lot of time more concerned about "issues" than I have about really knowing who Christ is. I may not have much of a blogging audience anymore, but ultimately, who cares? Blogs come and go and blog readers are a fickle bunch. It's too much energy better spent elsewhere to do what needs to be done to keep people interested. 

So now I look forward to summer. My poor house will get a thorough going over. By September 1st, Lord willing, I will have a new dining room table, and an office upstairs, freshly painted. When I'm writing term papers next November, there will be no writing mess scattered all over the living room. You know things need to be tidier when your dog manages to get a hold of Post-it reading flags and ingests them. And I wonder why I have dogs who barf on my couch when I'm gone from home.

Winter will go away, and the "sockless season" will come. 

The summer maintenance project in Greek is to translate Philippians and parse every verb we encounter. I plan on starting May 1st, doing a verse a day. I also hope to get my camera out again. I've missed that.

Monday
Apr162018

Adventures in Studying

If I thought last week was hectic, this one will be even more so. My Greek final is on Thursday, and thus far, my attempts to really study hard have been thwarted. One reason is my own fault. I have got behind in my Church History reading. I have to submit logs of what I read this semester from the textbook. These readings are not short and not all are equally engaging. German liberalism is mind numbingly boring. I still have two full chapters to read and finish logging by the end of today. I have studied a little for Greek, mostly reviewing verb paradigms. 

We were hit with a very nasty ice storm over the weekend. Thousands in southern Ontario are without power this morning, and there is a risk of flooding now that the ice has stopped. Thankfully, we did not get hit as hard as others. I'm praying we will have power maintained until I get my logs submitted.

The stench in my house, which we thought was the decaying remains of a mouse in the vent has turned out to have another source, courtesy of one of my Beagles. Instead of a rotting corpse, we discovered dog vomit in the folds of the top of our couch. Our dogs love to lay along the top and look out the window. Clearly one of them upchucked while enjoying the couch. I suspect it was my younger dog, Bear, who is not fussy about what he eats, whether it is another dog's waste products (Beagles are famous for it) or leaves and twigs. Thankfully, now that we've cleaned it out, it smells better. The combination of a honey citrus candle and the stinky aroma just about did me in last Friday.

There is now the sound of something alive in my vent. Our furnace is vented on the south side of our house, above the basement window. I suspect something has crawled in to avoid the nasty weather. I think it is probably a chipmunk or something larger than a mouse because of the way it is thrashing about. When the furnace is on, he is quiet. If he is alive when my husband gets home tonight, we'll try to flush him out. In the meantime, as I study, I'm distracted with the critter. I just hope it isn't a bat.

I've been up since 5:00, so now it's time to break from studying and have breakfast.

Saturday
Apr142018

Articulating the unpopular

This morning, I submitted my term paper for Church History. I wrote about the Dutch Anabaptist, Menno Simons. If you're familiar with Mennonites, you have a window into his legacy. 

When Menno was converted in 1536, those who practiced believer's baptism were considered criminals. One of the events which drew this formerly apathetic Catholic priest toward the gospel was hearing about a man who was beheaded for being re-baptized. Beheaded. For being baptized. Despite the fact that he would be endangering his own life (and evenetually, his wife and children) by turning from his former beliefs to his convictions regarding what Scripture said, Menno embraced Christ, and spent the remainder of his life, for all intents and purposes, as a fugitive. He was never able to remain in one place for long, and for those who sheltered him, execution was the punishment. Menno said:

Since we, for the sake of baptism, are so miserably abused, slandered, and persecuted by all men, and since we are ever suspicioned because of the ungodly sects (which are to you very harmful, perilous, and abominable, as may be plainly seen); therefore, we say and testify in Christ Jesus, before God and before His holy angels, before you, and before the whole world, that we are driven by a God-fearing faith which we have in the Word of God to baptize and to be baptized, and nothing else.

Menno was not afraid to speak his convictions despite the dangers. Would that we felt the same. Would that I felt the same. I will admit that I am often afraid to speak my views openly because of the way people may react. I especially try very hard to refrain from giving opinions on social media because people are so quick to jump all over those with whom they disagree. 

On the cover of all of Menno Simons's works, he included I Corinthians 3:11: For no one can lay a foundation other than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. I cling to that. I cling to Christ. Even when I'm afraid that something as simple as alluding to a political preference would mean rejection or harsh comments. I just hope that when the time comes and I must speak out that I will be bold.

Thursday
Apr122018

Down to the wire. And books!

I have four things left on my school checklist: 

  1. Write my Greek Vocabulary test today.
  2. Complete and submit my term paper by Saturday.
  3. Finish reading and writing log entries for four chapters of my Church History textbook by Sunday.
  4. Study and write my Greek II final.

Whew! I think I'l be ready to be done. On the upside, I'm inserting a "fun day" on Tuesday. I'll be taking time out to go dress shopping with a friend. I'm going to a wedding this month, and I'm treating myself to a new outfit.

Today, prior to my test, I'm going to the last Seminary chapel. Dr. Fowler, who is retiring from full time teaching this spring, is speaking. He has had a great impact on me. He will continue teaching as an adjunct, and I'm praying that he'll be teaching Theology of Church and Ministry when I'm ready to take it.

I'm thinking ahead to reading. These are in no particular order, except that I do plan on starting with Paul Tripp.

Instruments in the Redeemer's Hands, Paul Tripp

Redemption, Accomplished and Applied, John Murray

Paul and Gender, Cynthia Westfall

Expressing Theology, Jonathon Roach and Gricel Dominguez

Linguistics and Biblical Exegesis, Ed. Douglas Magnum and Josh Westbury

The Good Portion - God, Rebecca Stark

Basics of Verbal Aspect in Biblical Greek, Constantine R. Campbell

The Fellowship of the Ring, J.R.R. Tolkein

Mary Queen of Scots, Antonia Fraser

Over the summer, I'm going to try something new: I'm going to avoid reading more than one non-fiction book at a time. Instead, I'll read a fiction or biography along with whatever non-fiction book I'm reading. I am trying to learn to read more productively, and I thought I'd approach it differently over the summer. 

The weather man is calling for 14° Celsius today, and rain. Is spring finally here?

Tuesday
Apr102018

What seminary is teaching me about time

As I write this, I am having my afternoon cup of Yorkshire Gold. I just got back from taking my dogs out for a walk. I had a Greek class today and was gone from 11:15 until 3:30. I was up at 5:05 this morning, and worked on my term paper until 8:30. I was very sleepy on the way home. I need a break so I can feel refreshed and ready to get back to writing. 

Around me, the house is rather in disarray. My kitchen counters are cluttered, dust is coating the top of my piano, muddy doggie paws have left their mark on my kitchen floor, and I'm aware that I have one load of towels in the dryer and one in the washer. I completely forgot about them until I got home. Sometimes, I feel like my time management skills are lacking. The time is there; it's just a matter of using it wisely.

One day last week, I had to go out to run some errands, and I felt myself frustrated and annoyed that I had to take the time for errands. Getting groceries meant taking time away from my term paper. Time for one thing means not having time for something else. If I take time to watch something on television, it's an hour (or more) away from something else I could (or should) be doing.

In Psalm 90:12: "So teach us to number our days that we may gain a heart of wisdom." Earlier in the Psalm, we see the eternality of God. He has been our dwellling place "in all generations" (v.1). He existed before time began: "From everlasting to everlalsting," he is God (v.2). A thousand years in his sight "are but as yesterday when it is past" (v.4). Not so for us. We will never live a thousand years in these mortal bodies. The Psalmist says that our days pass away under his wrath (v.9). If we are lucky, we may live eighty years (v.10). We only have limited time to be on this earth doing what God wants us to do.

While we live these brief lives, do we live in the fear of God? When I evaluate what I'm going to do with my time, do I number my days? Do I sit back and ask myself if what I'm going to do is worth sacrificing time from something else? Is that "quick peek" on Twitter (which, ultiimately ends up being longer) worth the 30 minutes I could have been talking to my husband? praying for someone? serving my family? or drilling myself on Greek verbs?

Many years ago, my husband and I decided that we would homeschool our children. I had to ask myself then if the time it would take to school them was worth what I would give up; like having a second income, or a vacation (homeschooling costs), or time to spend with my friends. It was worth it. While it was not a perfect world, I don't regret investing that time in the lives of my kids. I spent a lot of time with them yet I still have regrets about how I spent my time when they were here.

The value of numbering our days, of reflecting on life's brevity and the call of a disciple of Christ, is wisdom. I need wisdom in making decisions about using my time. I don't want to look back and think that I wasted the time I was given. It is trite but true: time is precious.