Thursday, August 13, 2009

Going Back to School

I graduated from Virginia Tech in May of 2004, so it has been over 5 years since I've been a part of any kind of formal education. When I graduated, I always said that I was tired of school and would never go back to grad school. This conviction of mine was confirmed when I was working in software development and saw my co-workers wearing themselves out trying to get their Masters degrees at night while they were working full time. That is all going to change this fall, however, because I am going back to school!

I found out last week that I got accepted (which really isn't a big deal - it isn't competitive) to Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary in Charlotte, NC. I will be starting to take classes this fall on my way to getting a Masters of Arts in Biblical Studies. It should take me about 3 1/2 years to complete, if I can stick to the pace of taking two classes per semester and some in the summer/winter terms. The program is designed for people, like me, who are working full-time. I will travel down to Charlotte (about a 3 hour drive from Blacksburg) a couple of weekends each month for class and do a lot of work here at home. It is going to be a busy semester for me as I continue to work full-time at BCM but learn to balance my time with this new pursuit.

Going to seminary has been something I've often thought of over the past couple of years. I have done a good amount of reading and studying about the Bible and the Christian worldview, and have at times wished I had a good education to enable me to do this better. This has especially been true this past year as I've tried to help students better understand God's teaching while not having a great foundation to understand it myself. I look forward to what I will learn and how it will change the ways I think about and study God, and how it will enable me to be a more effective minister to college students.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Summer Update

It's hard to believe, but summer is almost officially over here in Blacksburg. In about a week and a half, students will start moving back into campus, and classes start two weeks from today! We've had an adventurous past month, so here's a recap of what April and I have been up to.

In late July, we spent a week on the beach in Ocracoke, NC, which is a small island at the southern end of the Outer Banks. The only down point of the week were the killer mosquitoes around the cabin we stayed in - besides that, it was a super relaxing and recharging week. We spent most of our days sitting on the beach reading and playing in the waves with Mabel. After having seen the newest Harry Potter movie, I was excited to go back and re-read some of the books. I got through 5 of the 7 books (I skipped #2 and #5 because I didn't have them) in the period of about 2 weeks, with the bulk of that reading done on the beach.

When we got back, our BCM staff took a trip down to Natural Tunnel State Park where one of our students (Patrick Trail) is working as a summer park ranger. We played in the sweet swimming pool (including a nice water slide) that they have there, and then got a personal tour of the park by Ranger Trail. It was a beautiful place, and a great time of bonding with staff and students.

The final trip of the summer was back to Cincinnati this past weekend to visit my family. We got to have an extended family dinner, enjoy walking and exercising the two dogs, go to church together (my parents church, Crossroads, is a great place), and eat at our two favorite places: Skyline and Chipotle. On Saturday, my dad and I headed down to Georgetown, KY, to go to a scrimmage game at the Bengals' Training Camp. My good friend and ex-roommate Jim Clifford lives in that area, so we got to meet up with him and had a blast watching football even though we were sweating in the hot sun. April and my mom had a good all-girl shopping trip while we were down there. All in all, it was a great weekend!

Now that we're back, the rush to get ready for school has begun. We are preparing some of our early Bible study and worship service material, planning for our outreach to new freshmen and helping them move into the dorms, and taking the last breath of lazy summer air before it gets crazy around here. I'm excited for the craziness though, which is a good thing!