An October Tinge to the Canon

Fall colours at the manor.

Fall colours at the manor.

If you’ve ever imagined yourself going to seminary, you’ll imagine yourself reading, memorizing, preaching, maybe even arguing over one of Ontario’s finest traditional ales. You don’t imagine yourself landing your first modeling gig. But you volunteer where you can; and besides, someone’s fetching visage has to grace the website and the CRTS academic calendar. So when the call from head office for volunteer models showed up in the inbox, a number of us replied in the affirmative. The pictures currently on the website need updating, as most of the depicted have graduated to the ministry. And maybe they’ll do something about the poster-sized ad at the top of the stairs, too, the ad with a picture of a man who’s likely never seen the inside of the seminary. Probably doesn’t even know it exists.

So Ewout de Gelder showed up with his camera today, photographing the lectures, the coffee break, the professors, the building itself, and then that willing group of dashing models. It may have been a better idea to do the photo shoot right after the semester started, when most of us were fresh from working for the summer. That is, when we were in possession of more bronzed and toned physiques. But I guess the payoff for having less Homeric students is having the resplendent wash of fall colours framing our modest campus.

We had our photos taken all over the campus, even where students normally don’t go, like outside the front of the building. At one point second-year James and I were asked to walk up a set of exterior stairs together, wearing expressions of “muted joy.” It took us a few moments to make the switch from “flamboyant glee” but we pulled it off. Ewout even said I was a natural – at muted joy, that is – and while I’m sure there’s something significant there, I don’t know what it is.

We spent some time in the library, too, putting on our business face. Second-year John and I posed with a copy of the Journal of Near Eastern Studies that probably hadn’t been read in a decade, and third-year William was shot checking out the Afrikaans literature. I was photographed on the couch, too, reading an evangelical quarterly, which one student joked would decrease my chance at a call. Yet I was sitting, another riposted, directly beneath a wooden bust of John Calvin. Sanctified feng-shui.

These are the sorts of non-academic events that contribute to one’s personal CRTS fellowshipping canon. Another example would be racing Dr. Van Vliet on the way back from the bowling alley, the students in the back of the van shouting “clear!” so I could run the stop signs. That was last year, and we beat him by a couple blocks. Or going out for beers and wings with Tyler and Gerritt last semester on the last night they’d ever have to study for a CRTS exam. It’s enough to make you sentimental.


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