Monday, April 12, 2010


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.


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?