Tuesday, September 22, 2009

A Frenzied, Frantic Fall Semester

I know. Til now, I haven't posted anything in the entire month of September. Thanks for checking back with me. So what's been going on here?

1. School started. And, boy, did it ever start. Amarillo College set a record enrollment this fall, with well over 11,000 students, more now than ever before in the history of the school, and one thousand more than this time last year. My classes are packed. One of them, New Testament, maxed out at 30 students. (That's about as many as we can comfortably seat in our classroom). The other classes--The Old Testament, Introduction to World Religions, and The Gospel of John--are also pretty full. So it's a busy time at the Bible Chair. Lots of students, and that's nice.

2. School started. Yeah, I said that already. But I also went back to school as a student. I've always enjoyed the structure, the challenge, and the opportunity of a college course. Well, almost always. So I signed up to take a graduate seminar at West Texas A&M. It's a history class focused on medieval England, especially London. The professor, Dr. Bruce Brasington, is a full-fledged medievalist. He really knows his stuff. Best of all, he's challenging us to do almost all of our reading in the primary sources. I've decided to do my seminar paper on some aspect of the Lollards, those religious eccentrics who took their inspiration from John Wyclif. My working title is "Hell's Bells: Lollard Objections to Church Bells, the 'Horns of the Antichrist'." I hope the project turns out to be as juicy as it sounds. Maybe a Ph.D. in religious history some day? We'll see.

3. Hebrew. Oh, I'm also teaching another course this semester: Introduction to Biblical Hebrew. So far, student turn out has been high to say the least. The second week, we stuffed nearly 50 people into the classroom. We ran out of chairs. A few people went back to their cars and brought in their lawn chairs. I won't soon forget a doctor, still in his scrubs, sitting on the floor just a few feet away from me as we learned the Hebrew alphabet song. Here's the most exciting news about Hebrew: we're right on the verge of finishing up the process so that Hebrew I and II will be added to the curriculum of Amarillo College. This has been one of those long, drawn-out things. You wouldn't believe the work that goes into adding two classes to the course inventory of a college. But now it's done, and I'm just waiting to hear from the school that this has now gone through. If and when I get the news, then Biblical Hebrew I will be offered in the "Fall Too" semester at AC, which begins in early October. In the Spring semester, the second course would be offered on the regular schedule. Stay tuned.

4. Beautiful weather. This time of year it's very pretty here on the high plains. We've had some absolutely gorgeous days, with hardly more than a slight breeze. So I've gotten to spend a lot of time riding my bicycle and walking.

5. Preaching and teaching. Over the last few weeks, I did a couple of the sessions in the Wednesday-night summer series at my home church. Currently, I'm the fill-in preacher at the Church of Christ in Panhandle, Texas. For three weeks, I'm driving out for the morning Bible study and worship. The auditorium class is looking at a different psalm each week. That's something I really enjoy. So far we've looked at Psalms 4 and 113. Not sure which one we'll go with next Sunday. Any suggestions? (You have to say why). The sermon mini-series is entitled "Real Christianity." Seems like the lessons are about to convert the guy in the pulpit. But he's a sluggish soul. . . .

So what's going on in your world these days? I'd enjoy reading a few updates that I might not get from the blogs. Oh, anyone else going to the Moser Ministry Conference at Lubbock? Lemme hear from you. Cheers!