Sunday, 8 October 2006

Courses, Friends and Travel!

(View Pictures of the past 3 weeks here!)

Dear All,

A *quick* update (mostly just to send you the link to the bazillion photos I've been compiling-- The American girls and I have been sharing our photos so there's much more of everything!)...

This term I'm taking only 5 classes (each year the required classes becomes a smaller number while the work required for those classes grows!).

Ethics is taught by one of my favourite tutors, Rob Cook, and I soak it up. In this class we explore the "grey areas" of Christianity-- discussing issues that touch our world today, that God's Word doesn't speak directly on, to attempt to uncover a Christian ethic for the issue. Starting later this month we must break into small groups of three and create a 2 hour presentation on an ethical issue to put before the class! As you can probably imagine, I am dreading this with all my heart! My group will be exploring the hugely controversial ethics of medicine to inform the class of each side of the arguments surrounding it... CANNOT WAIT for this to just be done so I can get on with life... But the class itself is interesting, taught by a great thinker and seeker of Truth!

Pastoral Care is taught by a tutor called John Carter who comes in from another uni once a week on Wednesday mornings. I am very excited about this class! Pastoral Care is the area of ministry I am most interested in. A few examples of positions that fall under this title are things like Christian counselors and chaplains, but the skills of Pastoral Care are employed everywhere there are human relationships. The course runs all year, rather than the term or semester that most classes run, and is unlike the more theological and academic classes most plentiful at Redcliffe.

The Doctrine of the Holy Spirit is taught by Derek Foster, one of my favourite tutors here at Redcliffe, I am not ashamed to admit, and has captivated me from the beginning. How multi-faceted and impossible to pin down is the doctrine of the Holy Spirit of God afterall?? We're studying perspectives on what/who the Holy Spirit is and what Jesus' giving Him to us means on a corporate level as well as personally. You can imagine how interesting the discussions are in such a place as Redcliffe with so many nations and denominations represented in one classroom! I love the challenge it is to think through all the different views and search for the one closest to God's own heart...

Psalms is, as you can imagine from the name, a class studying the Psalms!! And I adore it... It hardly feels like a theological course as I study the literary forms and contexts of the 150 Psalms, and work on a creative piece of work using a Psalm for my assessment at the end of the course! It brings up in vivid colour my fascination of the study of English Literature and does make me quite miss being an English major :) It's taught by the hilarious and brilliant Derek Foster, our Old Testament Scholar here at Redcliffe.

The Gospel of Mark is taught by Richard Johnson-- who may have just about the sharpest mind I've ever known, along with being the epitome of "absent-minded professor" : ) I love the Word of God so I take most any class that means delving into it deeper. This course will mean writing an exegesis on a passage in Mark, the study for which I rather enjoy if only I didn't feel so pressed by the study for everything else!

Somehow, there are never enough hours in the day.

Aside from study, I have been attempting to be extraverted to get to know the new people (Aside from Rachel and Kate, who are 19 year old American's from Moody Bible Institute and with whom I've become fast friends already!)-- though I burn out on that quickly. And we've been trying to make the most of Rachel and Kate's time here by finding ways to travel to nearby historic cities on Saturdays! Last week my friend Helen--whose husband is a third year-- drove us to Oxford for the day (do check out the pictures)! It was incredible to walk and touch and see the places and things I've only ever heard about and read about in this amazing historic university city. This week a new student called Polly took us to Stratford-upon-Avon where Shakespeare was born and raised. I'd been there once before when I was 14 and visiting England with my Auntie Melissa, but it all seemed brand new 6 years and a million experiences later! We spent the afternoon meandering through the Cotswolds and I fell in love with the enchanted Cotswold village called Bourton-on-the-Water (Pictures, pictures, pictures!) as well as getting to know Polly a little (who assures me she'll be my friend when Rach and Kate leave in December :))

Then today my pastor and his wife, Steve and Debs, had the girls and I over for a lovely Sunday Roast and then a Rugby match on the telly-- and it is soo lovely to settle into a family, especially one I adore so much as this one, and just feel at home amongst them. Steve, Debs, their daughters Bex and Megan, and Kate and Rach, my own little family for a day : ) It's a beautiful thing to find yourself at home when you mightn't be farther from it...

Anyway, so much for a "quick update"! Though it would be ever so much longer if I wasn't so exhausted after a weekend well-spent :) Do look through the pictures. I take everso many in hopes that I might bottle this up for you, even in its smallest measure.

All my love! I miss you so : )
Leah <><
p.s. Pictures here.

"Lord, may Your Spirit rest upon me and never depart from me. Prove your mighty power in my soul day by day, in such a way that all men will see that God is almighty to save and to keep."-- Andrew Murray, "Absolute Surrender"

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