Huzzah, today another academic year commences, another cohort of bright-eyed and bushy-tailed B.Th and M.Div students begins their academic journey here at Ridley Melbourne.
I want to wish my new and continuing students a warm greetings from the blog and tell them how much I’m looking forward to our forthcoming lectures. Perhaps I’m nostalgic, but I love the beginning of the semester, the crisp sound of iPads opening and the sight of MacBook cords spread all over the class room. How I savour the mix of nerves, energy, excitement, and fear that fills the air like pheromones exuding from the lemmas at the Melbourne Zoo across the road. Every year I count it an honour and a blessing to be able to teach, lead, and shepherd men and women in the science of gospelizing and in the art of biblical interpretation. Its quite a package: theological study, spiritual formation, and ministerial preparation – I love what I do!
Of course, experience also teaches me that as the semester progresses, eventually excitement soon gives way to complacency, enthusiasm is hijacked by laziness, some apathy kicks in after Easter, familiarity gives way to contempt, and for young men in the 18-21 age group, personal discipline becomes less prevalent than personal hygiene.
So if any of my students are thinking about coming to class late, not doing their homework, handing in essays late without a good reason, doing the bare minimum for what is required, and being just plain lazy, I want them to remember one particular image of me, namely, this one:
Your professor loves you and prays for you … but do not mess with an ex-paratrooper, with a history of mental illness, an innate inability to empathize with other human beings, a low tolerance threshold for incompetence and laziness, and access to illegal fire arms that he is trained to use lethally. Nothing to fear of course, just saying!