Archive for September, 2009

Week 3 of Greek

September 25, 2009

Another week is in the books. This week went over much better than last week did. However, this week we started off with a Vocabulary Quiz. I did wonderfully on the quiz and I’ll be beating myself up for the ones I missed. We followed up with a quiz in the afternoon which I did surprisingly well on. Took my time and nailed the quiz as well.  Now this is probably going to be the way Greek goes the rest of the way.  I did well on quizzes and tests for the week, but Greek really threw me for curves with new material. Just trying to rationalize some of the ways Greek does things with English will drive you crazy. Likewise, the vocabulary is starting to get weird with its spelling and definitions. Hard to explain if you haven’t had Greek, but I’ll give it a try. It’s a joke I’ve used for years when folks ask for suggestions on what to name their children. Spell the name Bob, but pronounce it Michael.

We had a short week due to the Theological Symposium (Tues/Wed) off from class. I chose to take this time to fine tune Greek and get some much needed rest. Especially, since I’ve been burning the candle at both ends for a while now.  Oh yeah, I also had my first experience with Kaldis with the guys after the after noon session of Greek. Good place to study, work, and wait for the kids to get out of school.

I did okay on test, but made a stupid mistake that cost my 6pts. Still no clue how I circled the wrong answer. I parsed the whole sentence and somehow selected the wrong one in a rush. I’ll be banging my head on the wall for the next day or so about that one. I guess I should feel comfortable about the grade. However, I’m not one for settling and don’t plan on becoming one who does settle.

Life is busy and hectic. I didn’t make it to my morning workouts at all this week so that really bites. I’ll get some rest this weekend and get back on track. I’m trying to get just one week where I get my vocab memorize, understand the new material, nail the quizzes, work, and get my workout in without killing myself.

This week’s material covered for Greek was the following:

Chapter 8: Aorist Indicative Active and Middle Verb Forms

Chapter 9: Aspect, and Imperfect Indicative Active and Middle Forms

Evidently, Chapter 9 is when most greek students freak out.  One vocabulary word can express 6 different meanings.  Where is coincidently, where some of the bible translations get so screwed up. It is totally up to the translators choice on how to translate things. Sigh

Simple Past: I left

“Connected Past”: I was leaving, I used to leave, I began leaving, I tried to leave, I repeatedly left, and I did leave.

Also at Chapel today I met one of the Board of Regents, Ulmer Marshall Jr. from Mobile, AL. He seemed very happy to see me, but I’m sure many can guess why.  We did have a good conversation and a number of things.

All the “Connected Past” are translated from the same “word”.  That is where I will leave off for this week. I have few things to do, then work, then study, then BBQ in the Woods.


September 24, 2009

I haven’t slept well this week. My brain has been racing about a number of things. Hopefully, this isn’t my body adjusting to the new coffee maker in the house. Yes, Seminary has broken me. Bad thing is coffee makes me want to nap, not stay awake.  Back to contemplation…

Thoughts on fieldwork and how I can become more involved at Faith Lutheran with the time constraints I currently have right now. That one is still up in the air. I have some ideas, but I want to observe and get accustom to the church first. Not necessarily how it is run, but at least get to know a few more people.  When asked if I wanted to assist with communion this past weekend. I politely declined sighting I’d like to observe the process. Well, that was only part of it.  The other part is the uneasiness parishoners get when they recieving communion from someone they don’t know. Case is even worse when you add me into the equation since I stand out like a sore fly. Yes, I know it is because of the hair. JK. So, in the back of my mind I would rather at this point not do that when it could potentially take away from someones mindset coming up to communion.  Now, don’t get me wrong it is driving me nuts not helping out on the altar. July 19th would have been the last time I was on the altar which was our last Sunday at Christ the Good Shepherd, Canton, MI.

Another thing is I’ve been approach to possibly help out with a church in the area with readings and possibly teach a class. I’m praying on that and will call early next week to follow up and get particulars.  Also, along those same lines I wanted be a well rounded seminarian which means I want/need to participate in both types of services. So, I’ve asked about another church for possible Saturday services so I can grow in that aspect of worship as well. I still need to run it by Seminary officials to make sure everything is kosher.  Out of that same breath, I don’t want to take away from family time or my studies.  Oh yeah and there is a possibilty for mission work from Faith in community college level which I think I would be great at as well.  Since this week was all about studying, I’ll have to follow up with Tim Bayer this coming week on that potential opportunity.

I’ve been praying more than ever and using my Lutheran Study Bible and Treasury of Daily Prayer for guidance on these thoughts. I will keep you all informed on my progress on these items I’m contemplating. I ask that everyone keep me in your prayers as I work through these things. Formation Formation Formation…

Week 2 of Greek

September 19, 2009

From here on out I will use a 10 round boxing match to describe my week in Greek.  This week definitely started out with Greek throwing a haymaker to my noggin. More of a wake up call to my brain.  Not that I wasn’t studying the material for very very long periods of time. As you can study all you want, but it has to make sense.  At this point things hadn’t made sense as of yet. So, the beginning of the week’s test and quiz really hurt.  It’s early in the quarter and it is better to get that out of the way now. Another part of the problem resolved around me paying too much attention to vocabulary and not enough attention to the rules of accenting.  Well, the knock on the head humbled me and I responded later in the week with better grades on a quiz and test.  Actually, finishing off the week on a good note.  What did this week teach me?  Well, it isn’t going to be easy. Actually, I went Gibbs asking for tutor. Something, I don’t think I have ever done in my life up until this point. Not that I haven’t had times when I should have asked and didn’t. However, I’m older and some would say wiser.

Thankful, Dr. Gibbs stayed after class to review an quiz and we went through it slowly.  Turns out I know the information and how to come to the answer, but my brain is working to fast.  What does that mean? We see a word in a sentence in English and we know exactly what it means because we have learned it (hopefully) during our education in school.  Well, that doesn’t work when you’re learning a new language. At least not for me it doesn’t. So, I need to take things slower with parsing for it to click.  If he hadn’t done that I may have been tolling around until someone caught what I was doing wrong.

This round has ended and we’ll have to go to the cards for a ruling on who won the round.  For right now I think it is pretty close to a draw. For those of you who have had Greek in the past this is what was covered this week.

Chapter 3: Present Indicative Active and Middle Verb Forms

Chapter 4: O or Second Declension Nouns

Chapter 5: A or First Declension Nouns, and Elementary Prepositions

Chapter 6: Basic Adjectives and the Article

Chapter 7: Future Indicative Active and Middle Verb Forms, and Deponent Verbs

Greek Quote of the Week: Precious Moments is the new anti-Christ…. Baby Jesus is NOT cute. 🙂

Overall life is a challenge and still growing accustom to my new schedule and making sure everything fits in. Settling in with a small study group between classes in the basement of the library to go over material.  Also attended my first Prof n Stein. Dr. Voelz talked about a number of things, but I’ll focus on this main point.  While we are in spiritual warfare, we shouldn’t stop to realize the blessings around us. I don’t know if he meant to or not (I suspect he did), but he really emphasized the campus them of “community”. Don’t be so into the books that you forget there is still a mission field on campus and off campus.

The week ended on a good note, with International Student Cook Out in “The Woods”.  The downside of the event was students were forced to pick between supporting the soccer team or attending the cook out. Also, it seems events in “The Woods” come across to be only family oriented. Nothing could be farther from the truth and its a shame guys miss out on grilling and wonderful conversation. So, if you haven’t attended one, attempt to and see for yourself.

The SWA (Seminary Wives Association) is about to start the field day event that was postponed on Labor Day weekend due to rain. So, I’m off to support the wives, have fun with the kids, and watch as people run around while being sprayed by a firehose.

Lectionary At Lunch

September 14, 2009

Seminary has a group of guys who get together as two Prof’s guide seminarians through the Old Testament and New Testament lessons for the upcoming week. It meets during lunch on Wednesdays.  One of the prof’s who leads the class is Gibbs so I’ll be seeing him the majority of my day on Tuesday and Wednesday. How is that possible? Well, I have him for Greek 3 hours a day and then on Tuesday and Wednesday I will have him for Geek Club (Tuesday) and Lectionary at Lunch (Wednesday). Why go?

“The more you know, the more you know.” -Gibbs

Here is the announcement on the Lectionary at Lunch. For those of you interested, but aren’t on campus and really want to get a greater understanding of the readings for the week.


Join Us For Lectionary At Lunch!


For (literally) decades, Lectionary at Lunch has provided insight and help for preachers, on campus and now through iTunes U; you can be part of that tradition!  Join us on Wednesdays, from 11:35 to 12:25, in the Buenger Room, 3rd floor above the cafeteria line.  Two profs guide the way through the OT and Gospel lesson for 10 days hence.  It’s free, and it’s good–it’s Lectionary at Lunch! 


Dr. Gibbs (9/16/2009)

Week 1 of Greek

September 11, 2009

I’ve just successfully finished my first week of Greek. Already a fun and humbling ride. Rev. Dr. Jeff Gibbs is instructing us on the crash course to Greek Grammar. So, far I’m loving it with minor stressful moments. The language is very detail oriented. Which should suit me just find if I can manage to grasp the rules in a timely manner.  I did very well on the three quizzes we had this week. This week we covered the alphabet, punctuation, accents, and English Grammar for Greek students.  Following our first session of class we all headed over to the chapel to worship together. After that I attended the Greek Club meeting. I don’t know any of the words, but I know enough of the alphabet to follow along and key in on the pronunciation of the words.  Hopefully, as the weeks go on, I will be able to do a  little more than just pronounce the words.

I did fine on the alphabet, vowels, dipthongs, gutturals, dentals, labians, and liquids. I had some trouble with accents and oddly enough English Grammar for Greek students.  I think the last time a teacher went over this stuff this in-depth was maybe 3-7 grade.  I’m a bit removed from that time and I see why our culture is suffering.  Good thing is learning Greek, as it is taught at CSL, is basically learning English Grammar again.

Gibbs is down right hilarious. His humor is only rivaled by his desire to teach us and hold us accountable. I’m specifically referring to our future ministry with his practical lessons for the ministry and realistic view of how important it is to learn Greek the proper way. It was a good week. I’m still getting accustom to waking early to lift weights, class, work, and studying.  Let’s just say I’m completely exhausted.

Week 1 of 10 is complete.  Nine more weeks.

Phrase that sums up the 10 weeks of Greek: The class can be likened to drinking water through a fire hose.

Field Work Church Assigned

September 10, 2009

All the first year seminarians finally learned their Resident Field Education assignments.  When we submitted our application for seminary we also filled out a survey/questionnaire asking us about our experience, church history, family dynamic, and desires to exposed to while at a church in St. Louis.  I agonized over this sheet for hours.  Realistically, I want to learn as much as I can from a variety of situations so I can be prepared for most situations. I only say most situations as there really isn’t a way to be prepared for everything we will be exposed to in a parish once we become pastors.

When Rev. Utecht looked at my sheet he must have thought this kid doesn’t know what he wants. Well, that would be a wrong assessment. I actually want every experience humanly possible and a bag a chips. Linda and I talked about putting down the name of church where we’ve attend throughout our visits with the Edens and CSL’s campus. However, I explained to Linda that putting down a church name specifically would feel too much like taking things out of God’s hands.  As such we left it up to God to work through Utecht to provide me the properly experience in a field work church.

Well, oddly enough I was assigned to Faith Lutheran, Oakville. If you’ve been following this blog you know it was the firs church service I reviewed upon our moving to St. Louis.  Faith Lutheran is also the church home to our good friends Joel and Erica Eden along with their children.  I informed Linda after messing with her for a while about it. She didn’t believe me at first, but then she realized I was serious.  Jumping and shrieks followed from Linda and the kids. I’m extremely happy as we have felt at home at Faith Lutheran with its still. The only drawback was there wouldn’t be any experience with traditional services.  I not worried about that really anymore.  As I’m sure I will get the necessary experience from at least four churches when we travel to see family and friends.

Faith Lutheran watch out here we come…

Faith Lutheran

6101 Telegraph Rd.

Oakville, MO 63129

(314) 846-8612

Sunday Worship Services




A Seminarian Prayer

September 9, 2009

Actually, it is labeled as a prayer “For Guidance in Vocation” via Concordia Publishing House (CPH) “My Prayer Book“. I’ve been using this as one of my daily morning prayer.  I’m not boosting that I’m using this prayer, but merely sharing this particular prayer as I think it is pretty cool.

O Lord, heavenly Father, You have promised to watch over Your children wherever they may be and to guide them in all their ways.

Be my Guide in my work, and help me to work in such a way that You will be pleased. Give me the wisdom necessary to make the proper decisions in problems that confront me daily.

Above all else, remind me continually by Your Spirit that You have called me by Your Gospel to be Your child and that is my business at all times to be a Christian. Grant me a better understanding of my Christian vocation so that all I do in my work may reflect glory upon You, my heavenly Father.

Guide me in paths of integrity and honesty for Your Name’s sake, lest men mock You because of my denial of You through hypocrisy and dishonesty. Forgive me when I deny You, even as you forgave Peter when he disclaimed You as his Lord.

Help me to use my talents wisely in my work, for I want to give a good account of my stewardship. Enable me to be a blessing to those with whom and for whom I work, to their joy, and to Your glory. Amen.


Just thought I’d share that with everyone. Back to studying for me.

The Opening Service

September 6, 2009

All of the first year seminarians arrived to gather in the basement of the Chapel of St. Timothy and St. Titus as we were marching in together. As we filed up the stairs the feeling and sound must be what athletes feel when they are getting ready to emerge from the tunnel. The vibrations from the organ and deep voices singing sends chills down your spine. 87 future pastors marching in one by one is a sight to behold. In hindsight maybe having us go in two by two would resemble the Christ sending the disciples out two by two. (Mark 6:7-12)

The Order of Service was “The Office of Vespers”.

Here is a run down of the service…

The Processional Hymn: Oh, for a Thousand Tongues to Sing   LSB 528

The Vericles

The Psalmody: Psalms 133 and 134

1st Reading: 1 Corinthians 12:12-20, 27-31

Choir Motet: O Lord, I Love the Habitation of Your House

2nd Reading: Mark 7:31-37

Common Responsory

The Office Hymn: Word of God, Come Down on Earth  LSB 545

The Sermon:  Title: Life Together  Text: Galatians 2:20 – Rev. Dale Meyer

It was quite obvious from the beginning the sermon was directly mostly at the 1st yr seminarians. Rev. Meyer made eye contact with the entire congregation and then focused in on the 1st year seminarians. He talked about the was before us in the coming years. He spoke of struggles and triumphs.  He spoke of Christ dying on the cross for us and that we too were crucified with him. Which leads me to something interesting.  I only bring this up because it has happen twice in 5 days. Rev. Meyer asks the 1st year seminarians a question.  We all think it is a rhetorical question so no one answers. He is then slightly disappointed and again asks the question so that we are supposed to reply. I don’t think any of us were expecting his sermons to be interactive even after orientation.  Hopefully, he doesn’t think we are dead and not enthusiastic.  I would hope he would see it as a sign of respect and a willingness to learn from him.

The title of his sermon comes from the book Life Together by BonHoeffer. It also doubles as the theme for this upcoming year. Here is an excerpt from the back of the book…

“…It reads like one of Paul’s letters, giving practical advice on how life together in Christ can be sustained in families and groups. The role of personal prayer, worship in common, everyday work, and Christianservice is treated in simple, alm0st biblical words. Life Together is bread for all who are hungry for thereal life of Christian fellowship.”                                                                                                                                                 

Bonhoeffer, Dietrich. Life Together The Classic Exploration of Faith in Community. New York: HarperOne, 1978

Rev. Meyer expressed hope in us to tackle the challenges that await us in our ministries.

The Canticle: Benedictus  Sing Praise tot he God of Israel  LSB 936

The Rite of Installation: Rev. Dr. Kent J. Burreson , Dean of Chapel

The Prayers: To God the Holy Spirit Let Us Pray  LSB 768

The Opening of the Academic Year

The Blessing

The Recessional Hymn: Church of God, Elect and Glorious   LSB 646

The Postlude

Fantastic service. A little warm with the suits on, but I can’t say enough about the strong voices and that organ. If you ever get a chance to get down to campus for one of the big services. Make ever effort to do so. Experience it for yourself.


Author’s Note

September 5, 2009

Since it was brought to my attention that it seemed like all my blogs were upbeat and happy. I should explain, that I’m documenting events through my eyes and how they make me feel. I’m not going to sugar coat and try to make it all seem pleasant when in reality it isn’t.  There will be times my writing will depict the pain or struggle I’m currently experience. There will be other times when I’m feeling great and that will come across in my writing.  Those of you who know me at least a little know that’s just how I am. I’ll put on a brave face, but you will know when something is off.

Check the title, it is one seminarians journey through Pastoral Formation.  A journey has twists, turns, ups and downs. So, buckle up as the journey is for sure unique to me.

Orientation Day 3

September 4, 2009

So begins the last day of Orientation and everyone is ready for this week to be over and get started for next week.  I wound up waking up at the normal time and even though we weren’t required to be anywhere until 9am, I was up and walking around campus by 8:30.  Stopped by Financial Aid to drop off some paperwork and then headed over to Sieck to look around. I walked in and met Chaplain Eric Erkkinen.  While I’m not really interested in Chaplaincy, it is important that I be informed as I never know where the Lord may want to put me.  He shared his experiences and benefits with being a chaplain .  He then invited me to a BBQ at his home on Sept 16th. Who am I to turn down home cooking and fellowship with brothers and sisters in Christ.

Next up I went to the benches in front of the chapel to fill out some paper work and had a brief conversation with Clay. Then it was time to officially register for the fall. Somewhat weird since we were all officially registered electronically.  I guess it was a way to make sure everything was setup properly. Rev. Gibbs came out to give us a pep talk and so it began. We first went through the line of Admissions where they checked off their list to make sure we had completed our prereqs.  We were greeted by (elder) Rev. Hoehner who represented the Seminary Alumni. He bestowed upon each of us the John E. Meyer Memorial Alumni Book Endowment Fund. It is a gift certificate for a copy of the The Book of Concord, The Book of Concord CD or the student’s choice of other books costing $30 or less. This was their official hand off to seminary as their jobs were complete at this point. Jokes abounded as even though we are in Big 12 country, the Big Ten rivalries reign supreme.

As with all new systems we suffered some technological bumps in the road and had to skip registration table and head straight to Rev. Utech for info on field-work church placement.  Many of us got our hopes up of finding out where we would be worshipping only to find out we still had another orientation on on September 10th.  Received information on Cross Cultural modules with Rev. Thormodson.  I know a friend who has done one of these in Alaska for two weeks. However, I’m thinking that between work and studying for 10 weeks, it wouldn’t be fair to the family to be gone for the better part of two weeks before going back into classes.  I’ll attend the orientation just to get info and maybe my thoughts will change.

Finally, it is time to register. Gibbs is hilarious. Extremely knowledgeable and has a disarming personality. Fall Greek is my task at hand officially.  From here I crossed over into the next room with the Information Fair. Many said go there because you will get free stuff. Luckily, that wasn’t the only reason we all went. I won’t bore you with all the tables, just the ones I strategically stopped by…

Thrivent Table, Right to Life table (R. Gibbs), Music @ Concordia Seminary (signed Linda up for Pro Musica Sacra) and said hi to Tim Eden, The Writing Center (had a great conversation here), Athletics (conversation w/ Bill Maxfieldabout basketball), a quick visit with Chaplain Erkkinen, Center for Hispanic Studies, Campus Services (finally got our box number), Concordia Historical Institute, and finally the Concordia Seminary Guild (picked up Christian Dogmatics Vol 1 by F. Pieper). 

Many thanks go out to everyone involved at the information fair. Tons of information shared with all of us.  A special thanks to the donotations over the course of the past couple of days by Concordia Seminary Guild, Lutheran Hour Ministries, Concordia Publishing House, Immanuel Lutheran (Mt. Olive, IL), Seminary Alumni, and anyone else I may have forgotten.

Next up was the Library orientation. Funny, enlightening, and educational best describes the tour. My feet hurt also gives a hint on how long this tour orientation took. Nevertheless, I plan to spend a large amount of my time in the library in the mornings between classes.

Brief lunch and then we had to get ready for pictures for campus ID and the directory. Jocelyn decided to have a slight meltdown after falling down so it made things interesting. Linda and I dressed up. Well, Linda dressed up. I had a jacket, tie, dress shirt, and jeans. Many wore shorts and flip flops since the pics taken are from the waist up. Once we were done there we headed over to the bookstore.

At the bookstore I used my new gifts from various groups to purchase a clerical collar, shirt, Book of Concord on CD.  Then I rushed over to the kitchen to help prepare food for Saturday’s dinner and events with Clay, John, Tristen, and one other seminarian whose name has slipped my mind. That is bound to happen when you try and learn some 87 names in three days.

After the kitchen work was completed I played basketball for the first time since getting hurt with Tim Saleska, some of the Preacher basketball team, and three other first years. Fun times. Look no injuries. Yay.

My day was closed out with weekly BBQ in the Woods with other seminary families.

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