As the Seasons Turn

The end of this year feels something like the end of last year, only more familiar. You’re happy that the fourth-years are getting the bum’s rush yonder to pulpiteering, but that doesn’t mean you aren’t sad to see them go. They’re the oldest, even if they’re not, and they contribute a lot to the overall character of the student body. That’s the way it was with Calvin, Ben, and Theo last year, and it’s how it was with the big three this year. Then they leave and the new guys coming in don’t have a clue who they were and so the cycle of forgetting begins. That’s where you find the melancholy, in the fact that things will never be experienced the same way again. We were all together for one year, and la fin. The brash new cubs of next September will bring their giggle fits to the freshman classroom, the fourth years will be five instead of three, and the student body will become a different shade than it’s ever been.

But it isn’t quite the end. That’ll be next week Friday night at Poortland out in the country. Right now it’s still the middle of exams, three behind us, three to go next week. This week’s Apologetics exam was a first for most of us, as it was oral. The way it worked was you’d go into Dr. Van Raalte’s office and he’d ask questions from the perspective of a skeptical non-believer, and you were marked on how well you both defended and commended the gospel. I think everyone enjoyed the format. Defending the faith, at least in that environment, is just plain fun, but you also really get to explain yourself in a way that writing doesn’t allow for. I’d be in favour of more oral exams. We won’t have Apologetics again, but the format would also work well for something like Dogmatics, which we take every semester, and which we’ll one day be teaching in catechism and explaining from the pulpit.

I may be alone among my classmates, in fact, I may even offend some of them to say this, but I quite enjoyed writing my Dogmatics exam yesterday (at least one student just felt a strange disturbance in the Force). One of the assignments we had this semester was that every other Friday or so three students had to sit at the front of the classroom and defend theses of their own making, theses derived from the readings. The idea was to give us a taste of what a classis exam could be like. I had my turn a couple weeks back and managed to dream up a tricky thesis about the Trinity. As a rule, you never want to dream up tricky stuff about the Trinity. But I think I managed to stump even the good doctor without being shouted down as a raging heretic. Anyways, for one of the exam questions Dr. Van Vliet chose three of the student theses (not mine) and we had to choose one and either defend or refute it. I chose to refute third-year Johan’s. I won’t say what it was, but man I had a good time taking it apart.

Tonight’s a night off, and I’ll be tying some flies for tomorrow. After church Arenda and I and the kids are planning on going to Bronte Creek park in Burlington, where James will amuse himself on the swings and I’ll be swinging a fly through the creek. It’s the sort of thing you dream of during the months of lying listless under a mile of frozen air, and the chance of even a few dinky trout sounds idyllic.

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4 thoughts on “As the Seasons Turn

  1. Everything is written out now. That Apologetics exam was the first oral exam of any kind that I’ve had, although the idea does get thrown around that we should go back to the oral system for catechism and proof texts.

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