Tuesday, September 9, 2008

New Life

I don't know if anyone actually reads this blog, but it's good for me to keep writing even so. And so I shall.

This past week Joy and I unleashed the news to friends and our church about her pregnancy. It's a very exciting time, but also surreal and uncharted (for us, that is). Being able to tell her dad that he was going to be a grandfather for the very first time was one of the highlights of the past month.

Another one of the highlights is that my wife signed us up for a mailing list that gives us a weekly update on how our child is developing in her womb. It's a really cool e-mail, complete with a picture -- the little guy already has eyes, fingers and toes. In one week, the e-mail tells us, the baby will double its size and weight! And he/she has a tail, which will be good for the other kids to tease them about.

Psalm 139:14 says, "I will praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made." Human life is to be respected, honored and protected because it is the work of the hand of the Creator himself. We are not random choice, an accident, a bizarre one-in-a-hundred-million-trillion chance at sentient life, we are a one-in-one chance of a God making a person out of His own image.

I remember something my brother once said when he announced the impending birth of his first kid, and I asked if he couldn't wait to become a dad. "I'm already a dad," he said, which made me pause and nod.

Yeah, I'm a dad too, now. I might not be able to see my son or daughter, but I can still care for them, provide for them, by caring and providing for their mother. I can pray for them every day, that they turn out healthy and smarter than their dad. He or she is fearfully and wonderfully made, and I can't wait to meet my child next April.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Requiem for a Seminary

So two days ago I started back up with the fall semester at Michigan Theological Seminary. I felt quite torn on the prospect of going back:

On one hand, this was the last week of "summer" I had, the last week of preparation before the insane busyness of fall church programs began. I'd only had a month off between the summer (May-July) semester, and I was a bit grumpy feeling as though I'd been cheated out of a real summer. When I got to classes and received the mandatory 20-page syllabi, I immediately tallied up all of the reading and writing and other assignments that I'm going to have to shoehorn into the next few months. The all-too-familiar pressure of "good grades" descended on my shoulders, and the professors unleashed their typical day one "you're in grad school, so expect to work hard and not be coddled!" speeches intended to take the wind out of any good expectations you had for the course.

But another part of me couldn't wait to return. I know it sounds silly, just more work on top of the other work in my life, but for the first time in my life I'm attending a school to study what I'm genuinely interested in, what I actually do for a living. I might scorn all of the papers and truly insane reading assignments, but I love learning in classes. I have a pathological need to ask questions and be involved with what's being said. I have a thirst for the Bible, for the truth that hasn't been quenched yet. I know I'm not the smartest guy in the room, or the person with the most forceful, charismatic personality, but it doesn't stop me from wanting to learn all this to be able to use it.

It was great, too, to see many familiar friendly faces that I'd grown accustomed to over the past year. Seminary isn't exactly pure college environment, but there's a taste of what I used to love about college there -- people all there for a similar purpose, folks who don't mind stopping to chat, a little world carved out of a bigger one for me to visit once a week.

And I can't but be humbled with the knowledge that my church places such a priority on one of its pastors being properly educated in the Word that it sent me here. I might have to be concerned about homework, sure, but they took away any pressure about the finances. That is quite a blessing indeed.