First Year of Grad School — Check!

The past two months have consistently looked like this…

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With working full time at Intelligentsia, having a full load of classes, and trying to be a good husband to Lara, life has been a bit of a juggling game. Even though it has been exhausting at times, I wouldn’t trade this for anything. God has taught me to be more disciplined, more reliant on him, and more engaged with the people and tasks before me.

I’m happy to report that my first year of grad school is complete!

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Lara has been the most incredible wife throughout this journey. She’s persevered during busy weeks, voiced her need to spend time with me when I have been distant, and really entered into this time of growth with me. We are so happy with where we are at right now, especially as we await the arrival of our little one!

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Let me share some highlights of the semester with you.

1) Studying under Dr. Averbeck, with whom I had two classes this semester. Dr. Averbeck is a leading biblical scholar and one of the top Sumerologists in the world, and also happened to be my mentor’s mentor! He is such a kind and knowledgable man. He has taught me the importance of thorough study and sound research, the necessity of understanding the Bible in its cultural context, and what joy there can be in studying God’s word. He pushed me beyond my limits —  I wrote two papers for him that I never believed I could write before.

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2) Taking a class with PhD students. One of Dr. Averbeck’s classes was titled “Literature of the Ancient Near East,” and consisted mostly of PhD students. We spent the semester reading a massive amount of primary and secondary literature in order to better understand the Bible in its cultural context. At the end of the semester, we each wrote a (long!) paper on a topic of our choice, and presented it to the class (for feedback and critique). The experience and discipline of rubbing shoulders with students of this high of a caliber was incredibly valuable.

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3) Attending this year’s Midwest Evangelical Theological Society Meeting. Last year I presented a paper at the Midwest ETS conference; this year, Lara and I got to go see my good friend John present! It was such a privilege to be able to support John and Jenna; they are both at Trinity and have been our closest friends during this season. It was so encouraging to be back at Moody for this event, where some of the greatest issues for the church and theology were discussed in an open, honest, and constructive way. We also got to meet up with Dr. Schmutzer and hear him present a paper on Creation theology and its implications for our understanding of sexuality.

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4) Becoming members at our church on Easter Sunday. For the past year, Lara and I have been attending a new church plant on Chicago’s north side. We have been so loved, fed, and strengthened by this community of believers, and felt the Lord calling us to offer our own gifts and resources during my study at Trinity. Immanuel Anglican is a liturgical church with deep roots and such vibrant faith. What a joy to join into the life of this church on the day we celebrated the power of Jesus’ own resurrection into new life!

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First year of graduate school — check!

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