I think this is the first Saturday morning in ages where nothing is happening. It’s past 11 in the morning, and I’m typing this while sitting in bed listening to the rain gently drum on the roof. Why? Because I can.
Okay now, Rebecca (my sister) pointed out that I should probably update everyone on how seminary is going. Thursday was our third week of classes and our first week trying out the videoconference software we will use to learn Hebrew from Dr. Colin Smith over in Pennsylvania. It was pretty nifty. In the mornings, I’ll be sitting at home learning Hebrew…I could even do it in my pajamas! (Which I won’t because after it’s done, I only have half an hour to get to the classroom over at the Faith Community Center.)
So far in Hebrew, we’ve just been learning how to pronounce words, though we’ve done a little interpretive work…we’re camping out in Genesis 1:1-8, which is a good passage for beginners since it is repetitive. Of course, having had a year of Hebrew, this is just a review to me…but it’s still fun. Hebrew has a steep learning curve—new alphabet, vowels indicated by markings around the letters, reading right to left—but once you get past that, it’s not a very complicated language. (I think.)
Greek, on the other hand, is easy to pick up and pronounce since its alphabet is very similar to English. But it’s quite complex and a highly inflected language heavily dependent on memorizing word endings. I like to think of the difference in learning the two languages like the difference between Harvard and Purdue: Harvard is hard to get into but easy to stay in (Hebrew), while Purdue is easy to get into but hard to stay in (Greek). (Depending on what you’re studying, of course….)
Anyway, we’ve been plowing forward in Greek, and it’s been fun. Rob Green from Faith is teaching it, and he’s doing a good job. We’ve been studying 1 John 1-2, and it’s fascinating to see how each week my understanding of the passage grows in leaps and bounds.
Meanwhile, in preparation for our week-long theology grinder the week of September 17, we’re doing quite a bit of reading…right now, I’m working on Part I of Robert Duncan Culver’s Systematic Theology. This is a giant fat book of over 1200 pages in small font. I thought it would be pretty boring, but it’s actually quite interesting…Culver has a lot of helpful and insightful things to say. Check out his explanation of the purpose and role of apologetics:
Authentic Christian apologetics does not pursue the goal of faith-compelling reasons for believing but frankly the aim of removing some obstacles to listening to the Word and of encouraging the perseverance of believers. Faith comes by hearing the Word of God, not in response to arguments [Romans 10:17]. To convince atheists, however, that belief in God is supported both by factual evidence and rational arguments might very well humble their pride to the point they will listen to the Word. In this respect ‘Evidences’ may be and frequently have been useful to the Spirit of God in producing repentance and faith. (p. 29)
So, all in all, things are going well. Purdue students are back, so my life is inconvenienced yet again! But it’s been fun.