Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Quarter of creativity

Granted that the gender balance is off for my booklists this quarter, it looks like my classes will mostly be quite excellent this term, in terms of both individual quality and balance of learning/work styles. A rundown:

Canon Law: is pretty much what it sounds like. Lots of reading canons and legal cases. If I were taking it for credit, there'd be a final. But I'm auditing it, so it's just sitting in a class on Monday nights talking about legal stuff.

Hebrew: is, of course, a beginning language course. As any of you who have ever learned languages will know, it has its own ways of thinking, and the workload is mostly exercises and quizzes and so forth. Lots of learning really new stuff, very little critical analysis writing.

England in the Age of Reform: One of my three-hour night classes. Likely to be mostly the lecture/discussion model during class meetings, though also a snack break each time. The usual kinds of reading assignments. But instead of "write three 7 page papers" or something of the sort, there's a final project. On almost anything you want. There's a research component, but it requires only four sources and the written part is only four pages. Mostly it's a project/presentation - creativity encouraged.

Anglican Worship: This is my Typical Graduate Course (if not a typical Seabury course). Read some big thick academic books. Write a longish (20-25 page) paper. Take a final. Listen to lectures.

Missional Preaching: Seminar-style, discussion-oriented, investigative class sessions. Read two books and report in on particular chapters; preach once. Again with the creativity - we're encouraged to reflect on whether our missional preaching will be in the form of a sermon or some other means.

In some ways, it's sort of like a sabbatical. After six terms where classes have mostly involved a collection of 5-10 page papers, this term says to me, "By all means, I want you to continue using your brain in productive ways, but take a term to think really hard, explore some new areas, and do some different kinds of work, instead of the same-old, same-old. Come back again ready to do the work given you to do, even if that's more of the same old stuff." It's going to take time and effort and energy, as well it should - but it offers me a lot in return, I think.

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