Now that December has come, think about the last time you went shopping, and heard the music playing over the loudspeakers. How many Christmas songs did you hear? I don’t just mean “holiday” music, of which there is no short supply. I mean songs that mention Christmas explicitly.
Some of you reading this probably expect me to argue that such songs are becoming less common in public spaces, in favor of more secular “holiday” greetings. But the fact is that, actually, I hear expressly Christmas music all the time. Not only that, but when I’m at the mall, or shopping for groceries, I hear songs that plainly tell the story of the baby Jesus, and many even tell of his mission to save the world. Undeniably Christian messages. I find that there is no shortage of Christmas to be seen and heard as December 25th draws closer.
Some of this material appeared earlier in the blog entry entitled “The Legacy of Dr. David Scholer.”
Oddly enough, I took the course I consider to have had the greatest impact on my life after I had essentially completed my MDiv.
It was the Winter of 2002, and although I had completed the coursework for my degree (excepting for the final months of Field Education), I remained connected to Fuller through my job working for the School of Theology. One of the benefits of working here is the ability to audit courses for free. In theory, you can audit up to two courses a year, but my schedule has never permitted that. Even so, I’ve been able to sit in on several courses over the years in addition to the ones I took to get my degree, and it’s a privilege I’ve always been glad to have. But I digress….
When asked to discuss what Fall is like at Fuller in Pasadena, it’s hard not to first think about the kind of Fall I was used to before coming to Southern California. For example, I went to college in the mountains of North Carolina, and as you can see from the picture to the left, it really is a beautiful place in the Fall. Whatever may be said about Pasadena, it doesn’t look like this….
The first time I went to Knox Presbyterian Church, the better part of a decade ago, there were probably around 20 kids that came up front for the children’s sermon.
This fact may not seem particularly noteworthy, until I add that the entire congregation had probably less than 80 people in attendance at the time. How many churches do you know where more than a quarter of those in attendance are under 10 years old?
It’s graduation time here at Fuller! To celebrate, my fellow bloggers and I are sharing some thoughts about our experience as students. Of course, not all of us are graduating just yet, while I actually graduated a decade ago. This fact, coupled with the different degrees we’ve worked on, will naturally lead to a variety of perspectives on what a Fuller education has meant for us.
This bears emphasizing right from the start, because this blog is set up by the admissions department, after all. We write these entries hoping that those of you who haven’t come to Fuller yet will learn more about the seminary, and that what you learn will encourage you to consider becoming a student, yourself. Just as our stories are all different, so will your own story be unique. We hope that you might see just enough of yourself in at least one of these stories that, by our having shared them, you will consider taking the leap into the time and cost of a seminary education at Fuller as being worthwhile.
So, you’ve traveled from the far reaches of the globe to Pasadena, CA to attend classes at Fuller’s Pasadena Campus. You’ve found the classes energizing, the people engaging, and the weather invigorating. But what’s a new student to do in his or her free time?
Last July, I wrote of Dr. David M. Scholer’s impact upon my life, especially in taking his course on “Women, the Bible, and the Church.” This month, the Admissions department has asked us to write about some practical element of our work here at Fuller. Naturally, my mind gravitates again to Dr. Scholer’s class, since how one thinks about, and treats, half of the human population has enormous practical implications. Since the Admissions department has recently written on the “issue” (not the best word, as the entry itself will make clear once you read it), it seems clear that I’m not the only one who thinks so. Rather than re-hash that entry from July (which you can just go back and read if you want to, anyway), I wanted to share a particular item from that class that keeps making the rounds on the Internet.
In a classic series of cartoons starting in the 1950′s, Jiminy Cricket would tell his audience: “You know how I know all of these things? I get them out of books! You can find anything you want to know from books.” That message was especially directed at young children, but it remains true throughout one’s life, and books are certainly an important part of the seminary experience for our students. This month, the Fuller bloggers have been asked to write about our top 5 books from our time in seminary. Most of our bloggers are current students, and so the expectation is that a healthy number of these will be current textbooks, but we are encouraged to consider other types of reading, as well. My own student experience was quite a while ago now (more than a decade, in fact!), so I’m having to reach especially far into the recesses of my memory. Thankfully, I’m a bit of a book pack-rat, and so still have most of my books from this time available for reference!
As I consider my own “Top 5,” I have a quick disclaimer. I am not including the Bible on this list. I do not do this because I think any other book is more important, but because “the Bible” is such a “gimmie” for a seminarian’s “top” list of books that I don’t think it should even have to be mentioned. My fellow bloggers may or may not be thinking in this vein, but I would ask that no one criticize anyone among us for any perceived failure to give the Bible its proper place. The Bible is in a category all by itself!
Enough chit-chat, here’s the list (in no particular order):
What books are important to you? Feel free to share them in the comments!
My wife and I are in the process of moving from our apartment in Monrovia to a space in South Pasadena. After more than 8 and a half years in our current location, this move represents a definite step up for us. More space, more privacy, closer to where we work, actual laundry facilities on-site that don’t require quarters to operate…. Now we just have to get finished moving all of our things from the old place into the new one, a process that has already taken up all of our free time for the past few weeks, and which will most likely continue into the Christmas holiday. It’s not the timing we would have chosen, other things being equal, but with the housing market the way it has been lately, we knew that this was an opportunity we couldn’t let slip by. Even so, we can’t wait to be done with the moving process so we can properly enjoy our new home.
If this post looks familiar to you, it’s because the original version of it was posted on the earlier iteration of Fuller Blogs. Since those entries aren’t available via this site, it seemed okay to post it again here, with a bit of updating, for the Thanksgiving season.
There is one thing that you absolutely must understand about me if this post is to have any meaning at all: I am an introvert. Perhaps I might even be correctly characterized as “shy,” although that’s not the same thing. I really hate crowds, and don’t do particularly well at large parties. Folks who only know me through such public settings may well assume that I’m not very friendly, because I’m much more likely to just sit by myself than I am to approach a group to join a conversation. I hope that I can say with integrity that people who know me well would agree with my assertion that can be very friendly in when the setting is just a few people, but I’m sure that’s not the impression I leave people with when they first become aware of me.
Given my antipathy for crowds, it’s probably no great surprise that I’m not the type of person who enjoys shopping on “Black Friday” (traditionally considered the busiest shopping day of the year). Indeed, the holiday season as a whole can be a bit much. If you’re an extrovert, and therefore possibly have trouble understanding this, may I recommend this article?