In my first year back teaching seminary students (after 17 splendid years at North Park University teaching undergraduates), I’m returning to subjects I haven’t directly taught in years or not at all. Last Fall I taught Synoptic Gospels, which overlapped with most of my career of teaching and writing and preaching, but I also taught New Testament Theology, which was a learning experience for me.
This semester, which begins January 7, I will be teaching the Apostle Paul and the Kingdom of God and the Church. Two (mostly) new courses, and I am excited to get to class next Monday. (I’ve been teaching for 30 years, and the night before the first day of classes each semester I have trouble sleeping — one would think I’d get used to this!) At Northern we seek to “cover” the subject but also work on the spiritual formation dimension of that subject, so this semester my Paul class will be reading a manuscript I’m writing on spiritual formation and the apostle Paul.
One semester made me aware what a treasure of resources and faculty is available at Northern, beginning with my faculty colleagues Michael Quicke and Sam Hamstra and Cherith Fee Nordling and Bob Price and David Fitch and Claude Mariottini and a bevy of fine adjuncts. The staff and administration have done their best to herd the faculty into a campus fellowship … so much so that I was struck time and time again that Northern is a friendship.
Students … what can I say. The life stories of my students was nothing less than thrilling … and over time one realizes Who sits in the classroom and Who is behind the voices and bodies and stories that are being told.
Northern is a seminary for the church. I’m looking forward to walking the halls this Winter.