Two years down and one to go on this Divinity School path! If all goes well, I will receive a Master of Divinity degree from Wake Forest University in a year.
This semester was the most difficult so far. I had some personal issues arise early in the semester that threw me for a loop. I was sleeping for 2-4 hours a night for a few weeks (seriously). I was so wired during the day those weeks that I could not sleep then either. Two or three times a day, I would feel something shaking near my hand and, it would turn out, it was my hand. On top of all that, I had lots to do. I was mostly thankful for the work-load because it distracted me.
I developed a plan to drop all or most of my classes. Fortunately, things leveled off such that I dropped only one and shifted another from graded to pass/fail.
Classes and Blogging
I ended up sticking with these five: New Testament Letters Interpretation, New Testament Greek II, The Problem of Evil, Spirituality & Discernment, and Internship (Public Theology). The first three were quite challenging. The fourth represented real growth. The last one was quite time-consuming. Writing these blog posts takes a lot of time!
The most challenging class academically was Greek II. I did not have much of a problem understanding and learning new syntax and other new concepts, and I could learn the Greek vocabulary relatively well if I spent an appropriate amount of time with flashcards and the like (it was often difficult to find the time). But translating Greek into English at a “reading” speed proved to be a significant challenge, and my younger classmates seemed to be a half-second faster than me when the class together spoke out loud the English translation of Greek sentences projected onto the screen at the front of the class.
The most challenging class psychologically was The Problem of Evil—a whole semester spent on repeatedly asking myself and others in the class in careful detail: Why is it that God allows horrible things to happen to people? If God loves us so much, then why does God let people starve to death, and be raped, and ….? Does all the pain and death in the world suggest that God does not exist?
The thoughts these questions generate are sometimes not so pleasant—every single week of the semester, with class meeting twice a week.
I did not make it to chapel as often as I would have liked this semester. I was a regular at chapel (twice a week) for my first three semesters, but I missed many more than I attended this semester. My schedule was such that my first class on chapel days (Tuesdays and Thursday) was at 2:00 pm. Isn’t it more productive to stay at home until class time? Between work and school work, there was always a reason not to go. I hope not to repeat this performance next semester, as I enjoy going.
I remain happy with my decision to drop down to being a half-time lawyer in order to be a full-time student for a while. I have learned a lot about myself, other people, and God. It has been an honor to spend time with my Div School classmates—if only the whole world had hearts as big as they have!
I am very appreciative of you, those who read my blog posts. If you have any questions or topics you would like to see addressed in a post, please let me know. Thank you. I appreciate your questions, comments, and prayers very much.
The above is a selfie I took in an empty classroom in January at Wake Divinity and then sent to my classmates—I thought classes started a day earlier than they did, so I was alone and wondering “Where is everyone?” as the clock went past the scheduled start time for my first class.
I am going to take a short break from writing and publishing posts. In the meantime, I wish you and your family a relaxing and happy summer!
(The picture at the top is a picture of our The Problem of Evil class. Professor Kevin Jung, a great professor at Wake Div who teaches Christian Ethics and related courses, is on the left. )
If you are curious, here is a list of the vast majority of the readings assigned in my classes this past semester: Books of Divinity School: Second Year, Second Semester.