how can you tell vampires like baseball?
they turn into bats every night!
how can you tell vampires like baseball?
they turn into bats every night!
yesterday the class list came out for the spring 08 semester. since i declared a double major, i’ve been waiting intently for this list to come out because there’s always the chance that i planned for a class to be offered a certain time…and it not be there. there’s also the concern that two classes i absolutely need will be offered at the same time. so yesterday was an important day because the oh so beloved spring 08 schedule of classes list was made available.
luckily, somehow all of my classes lined up perfectly. no overlaps…no miscalculations. i should be good to go. here’s the classes i’ll be taking:
selected new testament books-acts (j-term)
trip implementation and evaluation
adventure ed senior sem
religions of the world
bio 1 (at hacc-a local community college)
i’m pretty excited about the courses. i’m excited about religions of the world because i found out i’ll be taking it with sheron baker…who i’m told is an awesome prof. i’m also pretty excited about biblical backgrounds because i’ll be reading some texts that are from the same era as when some sections of the bible were written. it’ll be rough…but pretty sweet. for trip implementation, i’ll actually be leading a spring break trip. i’m a little nervous about that…but my leadership team has some great ideas so it should be a nice time (…if you’re a messiah college student, you should go on a spring break trip with us! you won’t regret it…we’re fun people!). hebrew has turned out to be a rather positive experience…so hebrew 2 will be a welcomed challenge. i have no concept of what senior sem will be like…so no comment about that. bio 1…yeah…about that…i pretty much despise bio. even thinking about it makes me angry…but i have to take it for my adventure ed major, so whatever. i’ll be taking it online at a local community college…so maybe i’ll be able to get through it this time.
that about does it for my schedule stuff. let me know if you have any questions…or if you’re taking one of these classes with me.
this is me blogging when i have a lot of work to do. enjoy!
so i have this theory.
this summer when i caught up on my “choose your own adventure” (cyoa) reading, i was pleased to return to a childhood favorite. when everything in the world is wrong, there are always children’s books to harmonize the discord. the beauty of cyoa books is that you are the creator of the plot. it is you, not some distant penmanship that directs your course. as you journey through the pages it is you who chooses whether to take the plane or the train, or go over the mountain or through the dark swamp known for gigantic alligators. you are the sole creator of your destiny and thus you have free choice in the matter of life and death.
but is this true? can you really, as the title says, “choose your own adventure”? i submit that no, you can’t!
as i read (and repeatedly returned to previous pages to avoid death or a monsoon ending my trip) i firmly believe that i found every possible short ending to the adventure. i was not diving into a lengthy expedition, but coming to a crossroad and living in a perpetual state of dead ends. i quickly came to the realization that i was in fact not choosing my own adventure. the man behind the mask chose it for me the day the ink hit the paper in some remote location. i can’t tell you how disappointing this discovery was. it’s not that cyoa books are inherently evil, or that they do not provide the consumer with what they paid for-an adventure…but as the veil was removed from the mystical nature of these books i heard the author yelling “pay no attention to that man behind the curtain.” my theory of cyoa books hold true…you’re not really choosing your own adventure!
so as always, i go from small picture to big picture. what does this all mean?! are the cyoa books merely a symbolic representation of life in itself? can we transfer the learnings from cyoa books to life…or dare i ask…theology? but am i going to let literary laziness inform my theology?
since coming to messiah college, i have contemplated the concept of free will vs. determinism (not free will). do we as humans have the capacity to choose our own adventures or are our lives, as the psalmist seems to believe, planned out? though i like to believe that i have free will (and will generally find myself in that camp), i will not even attempt to answer these questions rather pose the question to you, the reader. does the answer to this question somehow negate or reinforce your salvation? no, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t beneficial to contemplate theology. are cyoa books evil? no, they still take you on a pretty sweet ride…and perhaps give you the illusion that you are actually in control. is that how life is? is life merely a cyoa book that we are given the perception that we are in control…when in reality we’re just a character subconsciously obeying the “inner voice”?
think on brothers and sisters!
you need to know something about me. i entered messiah college as a bright-eyed bible major prepared to conquer the world. my first year spent as a bible major opened my eyes to the bible i had held as a youngster in sunday school. somehow it seemed different…cooler…like something i might actually want to read. despite this epiphany, i ended my career as a bible major at the conclusion of my freshman year. there were many factors that went into this decision that are quite irrelevant to debate now, a year and a half later.
i switched my major to adventure education. oh what a joy! one of my first classes as an adventure ed major was rock climbing. what an experience…i had an opportunity to climb in joshua tree, california…home of some world-class climbing. as time went on, i realized that the major was not just rock climbing and canoeing, but climbing over the many insecurities i have, and preparing for the “rapids” life brings. the adventure education major is not all about fun. yes, there is a lot of fun in many of the classes we take. but that’s not where it ends. i don’t have to spend 32 grand to have fun. at messiah, the focus in adventure education is the “education” aspect of the major. it is difficult to explain this to a world that has not hiked along the na pali coast in hawaii or canoed down the west branch of the susquehanna in late may. hiking, canoeing, rock climbing, and caving are merely the classroom for greater education. this is important to understand for those outside the major. in some of our classes we might play games…but those games teach us lessons…teach us principles. we play games to learn about how groups interact…and how thus to help groups we lead communicate better. we become competent canoers so that we can reach out to troubled youth.
these games…this “playing”…it’s not for fun (though it’s an unavoidable byproduct). it’s for becoming competent leaders to serve those around us that are broken…just as we are. it’s so that we can offer another “office” for counseling. it’s so that we can change lives and restore hope in those who have lost it in the world.
i say all these things (though i could continue on for hours) to express how the adventure education field has changed my life. i say this to educate those who mock us as they pass us in our “classroom” by the yellow breeches. this week i came face to face with the reality that i am exactly where i’m supposed to be…where i need to be so that not only i can grow, but to benefit those i will serve as a pastor in the years to come.
this week i struggled with my decision to leave the bible major a year and a half ago. there was a period this week when i was forced to confront my aching need to study the bible in an academic/scholarly setting. i felt myself drawing closer to that need because i had neglected it for so long. just as i need to fulfill that passion in my life, i need to nurture my passion for the adventure education field.
somehow, with my girlfriend’s help, i was able to weave the two majors together and still graduate on time! though it is not official, i have begun to take the necessary measures to graduate with a dual degree in adventure education and biblical and religious studies (with a concentration in bible).
i look forward to my future. i’m tickled by the reality that on my diploma, adventure ed and bible will appear together…and the seminaries i apply to will see this as well. thus continues the adventure of a college student!
let’s be honest with ourselves for a moment. for those who have been to chapel, if you’re honest with yourself, chapel isn’t always the top priority of things to get done on tuesday and thursday mornings. i’ll admit that there are times that i’m drawn, but there are a lot of times the “fluff” gets me and it turns me off for the rest of chapel. it’s how things are…admit it. once in a while there’s a dynamic speaker who actually knows something and is relevant. this morning the stage was set for another typical chapel experience and i just wasn’t up for another act…until the speaker got up and cursed a few times. now if that doesn’t wake you up in chapel, nothing will. shane claiborne was the speaker today and i think it’s an understatement that he was dynamic and relevant. granted, the fact that he cursed a couple of times wasn’t the only thing i took from what he said. that’s not what i mean. it was so clear that he was passionate about the subject and that he knew a thing or two.
he spoke on grace…what it means…what it looks like. let me be up front when i say that i absolutely hate (that’s right…hate) the hymn amazing grace. it’s not that the message is bad, it’s just that everyone and their mother thinks they can sing it and that their version is better and somehow “new” compared to earlier versions. so that’s why i hate it…because it’s been domesticated…not because the message is bad. but when i hear about “grace” i immediately think of that hymn and how much i dislike it. so i’ll admit that i groaned a bit when i heard that he’d be speaking about grace. but man, i don’t think i’ve heard a message about grace as he spoke about it today. i realize that there are times that i need to be told that i’m no good and don’t deserve to live…and there are other times when i need to be told that god loves me.
i remember a time when my hebrew prof emailed the whole class to encourage us in our studies. he finished the email in a way that to this day when i think about it, my eyes start to well up (i’ll man up to that). he said that god was pleased with us. get that…god is pleased with us. sometimes that is hard for me to swallow because in my mind there is no reason for god to be pleased with me. so i need that grace that shane spoke of today. i need to know that i’m a heap of crap…but that god, as my hebrew prof says, is pleased with me.
today chapel was a good thing…shane claiborne=a good thing for messiah college.
my life has become increasingly busier because of this “college” thing. as a junior, you’d think i’d have a good handle on it, but i don’t. i will be completely useless until thursday night when i can finally rest my head upon my pillow that will not have been touched since sunday. my little glimmer of light came when i realized that next week starts fall break! that’s my goal right now…make it to fall break. just a week and two days and i’ll be free!!! in the meantime…in the words of family guy’s joe swanson, “BRING IT OOONNN!!!”