We are again in the upswing of the year, heading towards summer, having survived the end of the Mayan long count calendar. The Americans want to mint a trillion dollar coin, lemurs are running wild in Miami Beach, scientists are running wilder with predictions of Martian life, and somewhere in a quiet, snowy neighbourhood, in a revamped west Hamilton Presbyterian church, the second semester has begun.
It began tentatively, with murmurs that school might be canceled today due to the after-effects of the weekend’s conference. It wasn’t, and just as well. Although the conference had produced varying levels of fatigue among the faculty and students, with Dr. Van Vliet telling me this morning that he’d had eleven hours of sleep last night, I was quite ready for the return of routine. So, we began the day with a chapel by Rev. Thabo, a pastor visiting from South Africa, who delivered a meditation on Psalm 127. We returned to the familiar walls of the freshmen classroom and, although Hangil suggested otherwise, we all resumed our former seats.
Our schedule follows the same basic pattern we had last semester, with Greek and Hebrew on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, and everything else squeezed in between. As for the “everything else,” Symbolics is the only class that continues from last semester. The other classes are all new: Homiletics, Intro to Old Testament Exegesis, Intro to Theology, and Hermeneutics. Today we had Homiletics, in which we are taught the secrets of sermonry. The Greek word homilia, from which Homiletics is derived, means “conversation,” and is one of many words used in the Greek New Testament to refer to preaching. In fact, I’m reading an article for that class in which the author claims that there are thirty-three different verbs used in the GNT that are almost all translated in our Bibles as “preaching.” So it’s a somewhat diverse discipline, which means there’s a lot to learn.
As an aside, I came across a wonderful article today in which the author condemns the ugliness of modern cities, and argues for a return to a more classical architecture. It explains, for instance, why people come from around the world to see Paris, and why people do not come from around the world to see cities like Hamilton.
You can read it here: http://www.city-journal.org/2008/18_2_urb-leon_krier.html