It has been a long time since I have posted. Getting married, leaving my job, moving to LA, and struggling through my first semester of grad school have occupied my time so much that I have not even thought about blogging. Since the break, I have had some time to relax and read some good books. Maybe I will post a review or two here.
California is sunny, but I do miss the Midwest. It’s hard to describe, and I will spare you the cliches about how life is simpler there, but I really think its just because its home and I have lot of family and friends there that I miss (and the cost of living is a lot lower!). It’s nice to not have to shovel snow, but typing on a laptop with a pile of books in front of you while the sun shines brightly on a 70 degree day has its own melancholy to be reckoned with.
Rebecca and I are getting along fine and feeling blessed by the great community we live in here at Biola. Our neighbors are friendly and the seminary does a good job at fostering community among the students and their spouses.
Learning how to be a philosopher has been deeply humbling. I carried a heavy class load that translated into about 50+ hours of studying a week. I don’t know how much I read, but some of the assigned texts were nearly incomprehensible. I had thought my background in theological studies and my undying curiosity for all things philosophical prepared me for the challenge, but I found myself experiencing much of the same anguish as the Greek students do when they are trying to read one of Paul’s letters in its original language. Its bad enough having to write about something you barely understand, but it gets worse when you have to submit that writing to a highly trained expert who knows you have no idea what you are talking about. Reading some of the feedback on my papers was downright embarrassing, and it even made me feel like a bit of a fraud. From all accounts, this feeling persists throughout your time as a grad student and it is felt by everyone in the class!
Though the professors are tough, they do care about your success. Thankfully, I do not have to endure the type of professor who revels in exposing the students ignorance and then leaves you to fend for yourself. All of them were extremely helpful and encouraged me to take a broad view of the matter: this is the process of forming a craft. It takes time. Finding your voice is something that doesn’t happen over night, and much of the best scholarship has been in draft stages for years. All you can do is work your tail off, and keep improving, and happily, I was able to show a lot of improvement. I did pretty good for a first semester student who moved across the country, and I am excited to continue learning.
Last but not least, we found a nice little church that is more or less made up of Biola students. The pastor is a professor preaching at the seminary, so the sermons are pretty good. I can’t say I am involved in any exciting ministry, but that’s OK. There’s plenty of MDiv students looking for things to do!