We were away in Northern Ireland from Saturday to Tuesday of this week visiting KYW's family. It was a good trip: encouraging in some ways, difficult in others, but overall - good. It was a long drive though! We left Glasgow at 6am on Saturday morning and arrived in Belfast around 2pm. On the way back we took the coast road from Girvan to Ayr: it's strange to think that before long we'll be calling that area "home". Then back to life yesterday with a fairly long day due to the beginning of my placement. Same today. I think it's going to be a fairly hectic six weeks!
I think that sometimes there can be a danger that within charismatic Christian circles the spiritual benefits of academic study are not fully appreciated. What do I mean by this? Well, simply that we can sometimes fail to recognise that for some it is through intense study - both of the bible but also, for example, of church history - that they gain greater insights into the Christian life and the greatness of God.
This has certainly been the case for me this week as I have studied in a little more depth the sections of John's gospel that we are looking at in the new 'Together' series. I have really been enjoying reading the Bible Speaks Today commentary on John and in a few areas have gained new insight into the text as a result of this study. On a couple of occasions I have literally felt my love for God growing as I've gained these insights - it's been pretty special!
I've also found that the message from Sunday morning, when we looked at Jesus being the bread of life and the only one who can truly sustain us, has come back to me in at least two different situations during the week and has helped to keep me going when I was feeling a little frustrated!
It really has been a great week for remembering and appreciating the different ways that God speaks to me and helps me to grow as I seek to walk with Jesus.
...and I passed everything! I even passed pretty well.
I am delighted and somewhat surprised as it has been a very busy term and I more than equaled my average across the whole course (if I were to go onto honours and continue at this level I would be at the level of a good 2:1). As it is, exiting the programme at level three, I won't get a classification. But it is nice to know that I reached a good standard academically.
So now it really is full steam ahead. I am going to try and chill a bit for the rest of the week and we are going to go away for a couple of nights at the weekend. And then, a week today, the next adventure starts...
Today was my last exam at ICC. In fact it was my last academic assignment (unless I need to do any resits). It was on Old Testament Theology and the questions I answered were:
To what extent can the theme of the Old Testament be expressed in terms of 'relationship with God'?
What is meant by the biblical concept of a 'covenant' and how is it used in the Old Testament?
"The election of Israel was not the rejection of the nations." Discuss.
I felt that my answer for the last question was my best, the middle question was OK, and I scrambled something together for the first (which I did last) and for which I didn't just want to say the same as in the other two, although I think I could have. I was writing right to the wire and I hope I have done enough - but it was tricky to revise for with so many biblical references needed and so I feel that it could have gone either way, especially if the ones I think I did OK in I didn't...
So that is more or less it. We get the results next week and, all being well, graduate on the 12th July. So, what happens next? Well, I am happy to say that I have a job which I can't wait to get going with. From the 1st July I will be the Assistant Pastor at St Silas. To some extent it is a continuation of the part-time role that I have been in this year - coordinating the Small Groups - but I will also be involved in more regular preaching, pastoral work, outreach and some work with the youth. It has been a great honour to serve God and the congregation at St Silas over the past ten months, and it is a real privilege to be asked to step into this role.
I am a little nervous, a little scared, but really excited too...
I think it's about a week since I last blogged... Sorry to anyone out there who checks regularly but I've been pretty busy completing two essays and doing stuff for work. But be assured - I am still here! I will also endeavour to keep myself a little more regular over the closing two-and-a-bit weeks of the term (and my college career).
The Red go marching on! What a game - I thought we should have had it sown up by half time, but fair play to Chelsea who could (should?) have won it in the second half. But that's sport for you...
Things are marching on in other areas too - some quicker than others. My science essay has been going well and I was hoping to get a good chunk of it completed by the end of tomorrow. Until, that was, I was contacted to say that forms (which I only received yesterday) and a personal reflection (which I only found out about yesterday) had to be in Edinburgh by Monday morning in order for me to attend this panel and not have to put the date back.
Then this Saturday is the Small Group Leaders training and there are still a few bits and pieces that I need to get done for it (mostly photocopying and collecting food etc), although we have a speaker coming and taking the morning which means less work for me. The great news is that the books that I ordered a few weeks ago have arrived which means that everybody there will get theirs.
So, marching on. Although at this rate I'll be crawling over the finishing line in a few weeks time! But I will be finished. Bring it on...
It is that time of the term again (and how I hope that this is the last time for a while that I have to start a post with a statement like that)!
One assignment has been handed in, another is close to completion, and so tomorrow I will get stuck into what is potentially the trickiest of the essays, for Christianity and Modern Science, the title I have chosen being: "What is meant by the 'fine tuning' of the universe and how has it revived the old Teleological or Design Argument?"
Of all the potential questions this is the one with (I think) the least 'hidden traps' and I have also found it quite interesting looking at 'fine tuning', and although I would be lying if I said that I had grasped it I hope that by the end of this week I will be slightly further down the road of understanding than I am now!
It's been a busy week with lots of lectures (which though they are good is also mentally draining), some family visiting, and it's a busy time work wise too. So, as I have no lectures today, I decided that I would take the whole day off. I probably won't actually go back to study until Monday as tomorrow I'll need to continue spending time on the form for this, and on Sunday we are visiting a church down in Troon in the morning and then I have a meeting in the afternoon before the evening service at St Silas.
Today I am off to the Life of Christ play in Kelvingrove park which should be fun; especially as Pilate is a good friend of mine! I saw something similar in the South-East of England five years ago and it was excellent, I am sure that today will be too. Then in the afternoon YKW and I are heading for a session at the gym and tonight I am having a mate over for a bit of a boys night - curry, beer, computer games - and YKW is off with some girls doing something similar, but slightly more girly!
Things are really starting to roll now and today I handed in my research project (I'm thinking it might inspire a book at some point) and completed my final interview with a Muslim person so I can start - and hopefully finish - writing that up tomorrow. I have also made good strides through the second assignment for the Islam course which is entitled, "'Islam is an Arabized reflection of Judaism.' What evidence do you find to either support or refute this assertion?" I am really enjoying this course and have found both the time spent meeting with three Muslims (plus extended family and mosque members) and also the work for the assignment incredibly interesting.
In other areas things are also rolling on. Of particular note is the fact that the panel I attended decided to subject another panel to me, and so I am going to be off to that before too long (quite soon hopefully, watch this space...) There may also be light at the end of the job tunnel and, as with everything of much (OK, not much!) interest, you'll read it here first.