Friday, May 01, 2009
The Final Countdown............
I am about to go impossibly quiet for a couple of weeks.
If you have been following the "Studies" labels, you will know that since 2004 I have been studying part time (not by distance learning but by beingin actual lectures) for a BA Theology, specialising in children and family ministry.
In this degree, there's a good solid core of OT/NT/Doctrine/Pastoral Leadership/Mission Studies/Historical classes. There are 3 core classes in each of these.
All my elective classes have been in practical theology as it relates to children - what do we/should we teach children, how do churches care and protect children, how do we offer pastoral care to children and families, how do we disciple children and integrate them into the church....to name just a few issues.
I've been asked what I have gained by doing a theology degree. After all, I have a degree and two post grads already; why do more study?
I think one of the biggest advantages for me from these years of theological study has been growing in critical skills. I have read much more widely, way outside my own theological comfort zones (reading about cessationist views just now, for example). I am much more certain of what I believe; much more secure when reading or talking about doctrinally different views (my institution particularly recommends reading across a wide theological perspective; you're not allowed only Wayne Grudem!!); more in awe of the richness and variety of imagery and literary styles in the Bible and so much more in love with the revelation of the God whom I see underpinning every word from Genesis onwards.
As I come to the end, I feel there is so much more I would like to know....for example, I haven't really touched the major prophets (thought the truly amazing Eryl Rowlands referenced Isaiah as much as one man possibly could) nor the book of Revelation ("phew" some may say!)
I have my work cut out over these next few weeks - 2 exams, one research paper, two written assignments (one a NT exegesis; one on the development of worship since the 1730s!) and working 3 or 4 days a week....
I don't think I will manage to cook, clean and iron for the next three weeks. Let alone pack up the rented flat (yes, in addition to tying up the studies and working, we move house). Too many things, not enough hands or time!
Dear God, hold me close over these next few weeks. I'm gonna have to be very strong to manage it all and I feel so weak. I've been re-reading little David big Goliath story this week.
Will (hopefully, if I manage to pass the last few things) having a theology degree make any difference to me in the future?
Am I more employable? More useful? Does having the BA Theo have more currency? (apart from being able to undertake an ATQ in RME) Was it a waste of time? (I'd argue: not)
Answers on a postcard.....or in the comments box below! :-)