There is a light snowfall gracing Philadelphia today. The kind of quiet snowfall that brings with it an invitation for some reflection.
Saturday I got up as if it was a work day and headed to class. In a Villanova FastForward class, you attend once a week, and participate in mandatory activities online. For this class that boils down to a weekly timed online quiz, on Tuesday, and a new discussion topic to participate in each week.
Turns out many of my earlier fears were unfounded, at least for this particular class. There was a good mix of people aged from around 20 to around 60. So I didn’t turn out to be the old guy at the bar. And I did participate in answering questions from Dr. Pohlhaus, our instructor. Still, there is a required oral report later in the semester – I won’t be able to pull off my usual avoidance of public speaking. Scary, but this is good practice for me. That’s the only way to get better at something.
The course is required of all students going to Villanova – Christian Theology: An IntroductionTHL 1050-101. I’m enjoying the subject matter. Which is good because in this short running class there are four books to read. I’ve needed to reacquaint myself with note taking while reading, I haven’t hand written so much in such a short span in years.
Particularly timely is Stephen J. Nichols’ “Getting the Blues: What Blues Music Teaches Us About Suffering & Salvation”. Getting to listen to Blues in class and talk about how it relates to theology is terrific. I lucked out in my first course. The music angle makes this easier for me – Heavy Metal loving, horrific songwriting guitarist that I am.
Grace, redemption, and hope from suffering, oppression, sorrow and pain.
In a way – I realize now that is the story of my mom’s life. It is the story each of us are compelled to write for ourselves one way or another. And it is a story that has written itself out in big strokes through history time and again.
Martin Luther King Jr. – Thank you.
And here is to tomorrow.
While I don’t look at President Obama as the miracle worker some do – and nor do I think things are going to radically ‘change’ because he is president – it does mark a new day in America and a recognition that massive change has already taken place. There is reason to hope. While some feel hope is a wasted emotion – I know otherwise. As does history. Hope encourages us to act and to fight for something better. We’re all in this together.