Thursday, October 25, 2007

[LIF] A Bit About My Programme

Now that I'm well into my programme it might be interesting to give you a bit of a snapshot of what I am doing. I have three classes and a seminar this semester, all of them quite intense.

I like least the Biblical Interpretation course, not because the subject matter isn't interesting, a history of Biblical Interpretation is awesome. But the class is in french which makes it exhausting. We are looking at Origen. Honestly I don't find much difference in this course than the undergrad Biblical studies courses I have done. I could not say that about the other courses though.

The Master's Seminar, which is new to the programme, combines a course in theological methodology (the next section) and a way of preparing with each other for our research project. That has been good and we are all pretty well narrowed in our topics (and we all have directors now). I started out with an idea to open a dialogue between the Evangelical church and the Emerging church on the issue of social engagement, but I am doing a much smaller slice of that now. The goal is to become a local expert on your topic so hopefully at some point I will be able to teach on the contemporary Emerging church. Fun stuff.

My other two courses have a lot of overlap. One is a reading course on Religious Experience and the other is a course on Spirituality and the Human Sciences. Both are heavy reading, but very rich. I'm just finishing up Transcendant Experiences by Louis Roy and am going to start Helmeniak's The Human Core of Spirituality. In the course of studying religious experience I've been spinning off and looking at some of the spiritual expressions from my own traditions (Pentecostal and Charismatic). I've been able to bring some dialogue with this material and the ecstatic experiences of the Toronto Blessing as well as the Asuza Street Revival. That has been very interesting, I get to design a course on Religious Experience as part of the reading course, so I'll definitely have a section on the psychology and theology of ecstatic experiences. One of the things I've come to realize is that we don't process those experiences well. I'll have to unpack that in a later post, maybe when I'm more awake.

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