Theres nothing quite like the feeling that goes with sending your last paper off in e-mail and saying, Im done with another quarter at Ashland Seminary. That was early Friday morning for me. I was exhausted. Ive finished two more courses in my seminary education, both very interesting and challenging.
For the History of Christian Spirituality we read through Bradley Holts Thirsty for God: A Brief History of Christian Spirituality along with John Tysons Invitation to Christian Spirituality: An Ecumenical Anthology. These books complement one another very well. Class discussions led by Dr. Flora were very interesting and fruitful. This was the first time that Ive taken a morning class on the Ashland campus. A break in the middle of class allowed students to attend chapel service. This was a very good experience. I enjoyed it very much and am glad I had the opportunity. Beside the reading, I needed to do two major papers for the course on writers excerpted in Tysons book. One on a pre-Reformation writer, another on one who lived after the Reformation. I chose Thomas á Kempis and Jeremy Taylor. The first gave me the excuse to read and study The Imitation of Christ, which I had neglected to do for many years. The second paper let me explore the work of an author that I had never heard of until recently: His two major works are Holy Living and Holy Dying. Both authors works were an enriching experience but writing the papers taxed me quite heavily.
The other course was one that was offered for the first time at Ashland. It was on Emergent Spirituality, a study of what have been called emergent Christian churches. It was quite an experience. We read several interesting books and discussed them in a blog at LiveJournal. There was quite a bit of good class discussion and some interesting experiences shared. I had my first experience using a Labyrinth for prayer and meditation. Thats something I would like to try more often. In addition to the course reading, I read Rob Bells wonderful book, Velvet Elvis: Repainting the Christian Faith and did a presentation on it in class. I enjoyed this book very much in spite of having a few reservations. I also visited Mars Hill Bible Church with my wife, daughter and son-in-law and heard Rob preach. Hes very good. The best experience was participation in a worship experience designed by the class for our last meeting. It lasted nearly 3 hours and was a tremendous inspiration. I wrote an integrative paper for the course which I will post here when I get my professors comments back.
I have one class next quarter starting in the first week of January. Until then Im looking forward to Christmas with family and friends.