Well, at least the spring SEMESTER is here...it's still bleeping cold outside with huge piles of snow blocking the sidewalks.
I'm back at school. Classes start tomorrow.
I have new notebooks, new text books, a whole slew of new papers that I can procrastinate about writing (once I finish procrastinating about the paper that's due tomorrow for my Winter session class).
This semester I'm taking:
History of Christianity I
Systematic Theology II
Seasons of Celebration: Worshiping Through the Liturgical Year
Introduction to Preaching
I'm trying to stick with a balance of half theory/half practice each semester so I'm not too loaded down with reading, writng papers, and generally bending my brain into a pretzel...
The Worship class should be fun as we'll be broken into groups with each group picking a liturgical season to design and present a worship service for.
The Preaching class was a last minute choice. I was going to wait and take a preaching class in tandem with my Field Ed assignment next year, and even then I had no intention of taking the Intro to Preaching class. Given that I've had 10 years of preaching experience I thought I'd take something more esoteric, like "The Jazz of Preaching" or "Holistic Preaching" (I have no idea what that is but it sounds cool).
I changed my mind when a 2nd year student told me that she took Intro to Preaching last year and the Professor announced on the first day of class that they would not be allowed to use a manuscript or notes for any of the preaching assignments.
My response was: "WHAT WHAT WHAT???!!
Basically, this is preaching without a net.
The thought of doing this terrified me so much that I knew I had to take this class.
The class is not meant to teach us how to preach without a manuscript as a rule, but rather it's meant to make us BETTER manuscript preachers. Preaching without notes will force me to know my stuff and get my point across in a more direct way; it will allow me to tell stories in a more natural, conversational manner, and get me in the habit of maintaining eye contact with the congregation for longer periods of time.
Although I'm looking forward to the challenge, I also know that this class is going to stress me out to no end. I anticipate a lot of Tuesday nights spent memorizing and practicing in my dorm room, and a lot of Wednesday mornings spent fretting in class with my stomach doing the cha-cha just waiting for my turn to be over. ;-)
But this is why we do stuff like this, right?
Turn our lives upside down, try something new, risk being the sole flubbering fool in a room full of our amazingly capable peers. Every now and then we have go out and S-T-R-E-T-C-H ourselves beyond the point that we feel comfortable going. We may discover a talent that we never knew we had, or we may say, "yeah, I'm never doing THAT again!"
Either way it beats sitting at home wondering what we could have, should have, would have done if we only had the guts to try.
I expect to be seeing (and feeling) a lot of you over the next few months.
Just don't get too comfortable. I hope to be showing you the door before too long.
Now lets get down to business.
A new semester is here and we've got some Jesus learnin' to do!