Morning in Madison

This morning I’m sitting at Atlanta Bread Company in Madison, NJ eating a bagel, drinking some coffee, and thinking about my trip thus far.  Even though we were told that everything was just a hop, skip, and a jump away from the school it’s about 12 minutes to this place and it’s the closest place to eat if you choose to skip the snack bar at Drew.  It’s really not a problem, because I need the exercise!

My classes are both going strong.  My first class, Exegesis of Job, meets from 9:30-12:30.  Dr. Kenneth Ngwa is the professor for this course, which has been my favorite of the D.Min. program thus far.  He’s a very sharp and curious professor, and I really value the way he manages the classroom environment.  It’s opened my eyes to some really interesting issues in Job that I’ve never considered before, especially regarding the topic of theodicy.  I appreciate that he uses a “post” historico-critical approach, even though he certainly is familiar with the best in that world of scholarship.

My other class is a methods and research course, which meets from 1:30-4:30 and has been pretty boring so far.  I expected as much, but I enjoy spending this class with the Oklahoma cohort.  After we meet for that, we usually do something to eat and get back to the dorms (yes, they told us townhouses – yes, I guess they are – dorm is still a better description) to read until bedtime.  Just about every night is taken with reading for the following day.  We do have chapel each morning, but I missed yesterday to go work out in the gym.  Today we go for matriculation, where we sign our names to some big historic book of some kind.

So, anyway, that’s about it.  This will be my life for the next two weeks!

First D.Min. Class

My first Doctor of Ministry class through Drew University, at Bacone College in Muskogee, begins Monday. The name of the course is Ministerial Leadership and Congregational Dynamics. To make a long course description short, it is a course on Family Systems Theory which explores the impact a minister’s family of origin has on their life and leadership style. Our first assignment was a detailed exploration of our autobiography for ideas about how our family dynamics impact the way we minister in our particular setting and a detailed genogram. Pretty interesting stuff.

The readings have been the classic text Generation to Generation: Family Process in Church and Synagogue by Edwin Friedman, The Equipping Pastor by R. Paul Stevens and Phil Collins (a tremendous drummer, by the way), Genograms: Assessment and Intervention by Monica McGoldrick, Randy Gerson, and Sylvia Shellenberger, and Creating a Healthier Church: Family Systems Theory, Leadership, and Congregational Life by Ronald W. Richardson. All in all, these have been helpful books. I’ve been exposed a bit to this theory and even incorporate some of it into my understanding of ministry, so I’m curious to see what else I’ll take away from the course. For someone with no exposure to this way of thinking, these might be even more helpful.