Six summers ago, I embarked on a new journey of biblical and self-exploration that became the threshold of a new understanding, a new way to tackle controversial questions like the above title, a new worldview on this thing called the Christian faith. Shedding the past behind, leaving an “old” world in many respects, I began summer session at Regent College poised to open my mind to new vistas, not only intellectually, but formatively as a human being.
Of course, I started with the greats, my first two classes with J.I. Packer (Puritan Theology for Today) and Bruce Waltke (Old Testament Theology) and I still say today that those two classes set the mold for me henceforth. The beginner’s exegesis of Ruth that I did in Waltke’s class became part and parcel of my own narrative & “heilsgeschicte” and defined my ongoing self-understanding of my own story and destiny to this day and onward. I still frequently meditate on its implications for my present context. And who can forget Packer’s constant Baxterian emphasis of the studied minister, “first light then heat”; Packer gave me the theology of how to do pastoral ministry; Darrell Johnson would later give me the ethos.
<wistful>Ah, those days gone past.</wistful>
Now I’ve been asked by my good colleagues at Regent to promote their summer session for my own reading audience here on my blog – which I will gladly do, with my own personal emphasis and flair; it is a tremendous place to retreat and to reflect, only to find that you never left “the world” to begin with. Even if just for a summer I cannot strongly recommend enough (esp for all my “lay” friends out there not in “vocational ministry”) – take a summer class at Regent. It will rest & replenish your soul, your lungs, your mind, your spirit.
I love my present parish context.
Houston, TX has become my home in every regard; my children are entering grade school here in Katy, TX, and my every intention is to see them all the way through till they graduate high school. And there are several good seminaries in-state and nearby; I cannot highly recommend them enough. But there is something that happens when a displaced Vancouverite – former Regentarian – bumps into another former student also ministering down here – there is an ethos connection; a common nod of knowing, a strong collegiality, and almost a stronger student spirit than ever, almost more so than when we were on campus (I’m looking at you, Jeff Pate, Peter Coelho, Pete Chung, Dave Wang, and others). What we learned in the lab we now work out as practitioners in the field; After serendipitously bumping into Jeff Pate at a retreat in Dallas, we meandered along a TX backwoods trail lost in spiritual conversation almost like we had never left the cool brisk air of Vancouver. And I was just telling Pete Chung the other day that I wish we had a student ring so we could wear it proudly for those occasions of serendipity.
Wow. This really sounds like an advertisement to drink the kool-aid.
And it really turned out to be nothing about the Taliban or the Tea Party at all (I’ll let Provan tackle that – May 15 free evening public lecture – here drink some more). But I really never thought the juice could be so life-giving; that such places commonly parodied as “cemeteries” could have among them such a life-giving seminary; another former Regentarian, Lisa Kim once shared with me along those lines: “Regent did for me what YWAM did for you; it more than educated me, it healed me, it made me more comfortable in my skin, made me more of a holistic human being, and thus more deeply spiritual than ever.
Are you burned out? Transitioning? Have some miles and vacation time? Spend a week or two at summer session at Regent College. This is my own endorsement.