Monday, April 12, 2010

Genesis

genesis [ˈjenəsis] noun- the origin or mode of formation of something, source, root, beginning, start.

Next up in  the review of my seminary career is  Basic Christian Doctrine with Dr. Allan Coppedge.

Now, I know you may be thinking, "Wait. I thought this post was about Genesis".  It is. Only, it's a different kind of genesis. This was my very first class at Asbury Seminary. It is where the journey began.

As I type this, I know my friend Jeremiah will wholeheartedly disagree with my assessment that this was a great class. I also know that my friend Jason will back me up on it.  And with good reason. It was a great class (Sorry, Jeremiah).

It was four years ago that I sat in that classroom.  I sat somewhere near the back-- I wasn't yet brave enough to sit on the front row like I do now.  I remember Dr. Coppedge entering the room, and without warning, belting out an old Charles Wesley hymn. The class joined in. I sat up straight in my chair, closed my eyes, and thought, "Wow. This is happening. I'm here." I cried a little that day, too-- overwhelmed that God would call me to such a place and on such a journey.

Dr. Coppedge did frighten me a little. This was my first encounter with a seminary professor.  I didn't know what to think and I didn't know how I was supposed to act. Was there some secret seminary classroom etiquette I wasn't aware of?  Was it okay to raise my hand in class?  Could everyone tell just by looking at me, how inadequate I felt that semester? I was sure everyone in my class was a genius and knew everything there was to know about seminary! (By the way, I never  worked up the nerve to raise my hand and ask a question in this, my first-ever seminary class.)

Dr. Coppedge's class was a great starting place. The class laid a real foundation for me that has served me well these past four years. I learned about church history. I learned about all the Church Councils. I learned about Wesleyan-Armenian Theology and about Calvinism.  I learned new words like harmartiology, soteriology, Christology, and Pneumatology. I learned about Trinitarian theology and what it means that God is a God of community within himself. I learned about the Roles of God and how those have been evidenced in Scripture, throughout history, and in even in my own personal life.

Yes. I spent 81.75 hours (That's an exact number!) over the course of that semester doing the required reading for the course. And I put together a notebook of notes from the reading and from class that is who-knows-how-long, and I pulled more than one all-nighter preparing for the midterm and final exams. But I reference that notebook several times a semester even now (it is filled with VERY useful information!), and sometimes I pull out my final exam just to see the grade of "A" written on it, and to read the comment, "Well done!" from Dr. Coppedge. It was not easily earned.

5 comments:

Jason said...

This is SUCH a great series - and a great post.

To call this class foundational would be the understatement of the year. I call upon this class much more than any other that I had throughout seminary. I would actually go through this class again!

Kelly Lawson said...

Thanks, Jason. If I were writing this post again, I would have said more about how this class was foundational for me beyond the classroom, and about how I reference this class OUTSIDE of classroom needs on a very regular basis. Because I do. It was foundational in my own spiritual journey-- not just in the world of school!

Glad I got to take that class with you.

Anonymous said...

Hated the reading, loved the Al Coppedge supply of knowledge.

Shannon said...

This is such a wonderful post! It captures a lot of the same experiences I had in my first class at Asbury. I remember walking to class at 9:30 on Tuesday morning, thinking "wow, am I really starting a master's degree?" It was intimidating, but the professor was wonderful and the whole process was formational. Really beautiful post, Kelly.

jeremiah said...

no need to apologize friend- i know this class was profoundly transformative for you & JB. doesn't surprise me that it made the top 5. my time with him will go in the bottom 5. you, me, & JB- different personalities but the same amount of awesomeness. agreed?