Reflecting on the first half of Seminary Year One

It’s the midway break of my first semester at Phillips Theological Seminary, and I am currently enjoying a break from class and discussion boards and writing and reading. (Ok, so I’m not actually able to take a break from reading. More on that in a sec.)

We’ve been on break from weekly classes for two weeks now, and we have next week off for Holy Week celebrations. Last week, I had an intensive course all week called Theological Issues in Film, taught by Brandon Scott. The class was really great, and Dr. Scott is basically a celebrity in the theological world (Google him: Bernard Brandon Scott.) It was a long, exhausting week though, with class everyday from 9am to 4:30pm. I thoroughly enjoyed it, but I am grateful for this week of rest. (TU is on spring break this week too, so there is little Blue House work to do.)

But, as I am finding is the norm in seminary life, the work is never really done. I have spent all week reading and taking notes for my big paper in Context Matters, which I am writing about Archbishop Oscar Romero. I’m so excited to do this paper, and more importantly the research, because I consider Romero my personal patron saint, and probably the key figure in my return to Christianity 7 years ago. The paper is a look the Archbishop, the context he lived and worked in, the forces that shaped him, and the way in which his memory and martyrdom continue to shape the world. I am centering it around Romero, Pope Paul VI, and Pope Francis, as kind of a line of continuity centered on an embodied faith that has that “preferential option for the poor” so central to liberation theology.

Besides this paper, I have a paper for the film class that I am beginning to contemplate, which requires us to take a film of our choosing and explain how it tells a version of the Gospel. I’m not sure what film I am going to do yet. I also have a series of essays for my midterm in Vocation Matters, as well as a paper on a spiritual practice for Context. For that last paper, we are to take a practice we observe in our research paper (Romero) and reflect on it. I am strongly considering looking at the practice of martyrdom for this paper.

Needless to say, all of this constant reading, writing, and reflecting hasn’t left me much time or energy to write blog posts, obviously. But in order to make up for my silence, and atone for the future prospect of silence between now and May, I want to share some of my papers and reflections from class from this first half of the semester. These were all written as assignments, and I’ll try to share their context and some links to some of the referenced pieces. I hope you enjoy them, and I would love feedback on my work so far.

Thanks for all who have stuck around here despite the quiet, and I hope you will keep coming back. Wish me luck!

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