I don't have anything theological to write about at the moment, so I'll just tell you about some of the things I'm doing.
The first formal hall of term is being held this evening. Everyone is required to attend in smart dress and the appropriate university gown. In my case that will be the post-graduate gown, which is more poncey than the "commoners" or undergraduate gown, and the doctoral gown is still more poncey than either. Do you see the pattern?
The principal and tutors sit at high table (which is just what it sounds like) and the remainder sit further down. After dinner we're formally opening the new MCR (Middle Common Room, refers both to the new post-graduate lounge and the body of students) while the JCR (again, there's a pattern) have their first "bop" of the term. I'm fairly certain that means party.
As you might suppose, I've spent much of my first two weeks learning the language.
I rode a mechanical bull this week and played laser quest with the JCR. 17.2 seconds. You'd be surprised how far a 170 pound American can fly.
Few things are as nice as walking 2 miles home at 2 in the morning with a basket of chips and cheese in hand.
I took my bicycle on a daring journey two miles north on St. Giles today, and discovered the Centre for Mission Studies. It looked mildly forbidding.
The two directors of the University M.Th. program are a Baptist and a Jesuit. I feel throughly ecumenical. I think I'm going to come out of here with an even deeper appreciation for Baptist life and the free church tradition, especially in light of my recent ecclesial involvement. Somewhere a certain R. J. is smiling...
This term I'm taking the paper on Theology of Christian Mission and Christian Doctrine in Context. I'm pretty excited; the course is wide open for me to be reading and writing the things I want, and the things in which I'm interested. I need to figure something out for an experiential ministry project, though; I've been thinking about visiting some of the "mission-shaped" critters around these parts, or maybe taking a look at models for campus ministry.
I can do whatever I want. I'm just starting to get my mind around that. I can meet some of the people who are doing the urban or suburban thing who are being empowered to take risks and be a little different in their committment to Christian orthdoxy and mission. In those respects, some people here have been doing for over a decade what folks in the United States have been thinking about only for a few years.
Finding the Glory in the Mess
5 weeks ago