Friday, February 04, 2005

The power of a syllabus

A faint memory came back to me this morning. I was searching for comments on Samuel Well's book, Improvisation: The Drama of Christian Ethics (Brazos, 2004), and came across a syllabus for an ethics class taught by Dennis L. Durst, M.Div., Ph.D at Kentucky Christian University. This is a fine syllabus, and I remember receiving these in seminary (Harding Graduate School of Religion in Memphis) and how it would set me on a course of discovery.

I'm reliving this morning those moments of quiet reflection and those bursts of amazement that I couldn't wait to share with my fellow students on that lonely two-hour road between Searcy and Memphis. I'd always try to get those books on the syllabus from a used book store and sometimes could but most times couldn't. Each book led me to another and a well-chosen paper topic--which I found out the hard way is best chosen with the teacher's blessing and direction in a planned office appointment early on . . . I used to consider this goofy apple polishing but after a C and a D on a paper thought perhaps I'd better learn the difference between shining apples and humbling myself before a person who was the best person in the world right then to direct my studies.

So, with that little memory, I want to share this link with you. May it create in you the same effect that syllabi (that's a geeky correct grad school way of saying syllabuses) had on me in grad school . . . like a ticket to a passage way into a whole new world, one book and idea deserving and craving and leading to another . . . and ultimately and intentionally closer to God and shaped by His word and into His image.

Dr. Durst's syllabus


Paul said...

Greg, I have one to share. Philip Kenneson's book, Life on the Vine, has impacted me recently. I went to Milligan College and found his syllabus for his Christ and Culture class. I've been enriched by this link:

Greg Taylor said...
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Greg Taylor said...

Thanks Paul. I'll take a look. Sounds really good. I'm more and more into Spiritual Formation books and ideas and this sounds like one. We used to talk about this much in Uganda under the shade of a mango tree with big fat mangoes hanging down around us. Wasn't too tough for them to grasp the concept of living on the vine!

Greg Kendall-Ball said...

Are you coming to ACU's Lectureship in a few weeks?

A few other students and I will be presenting the Gospel and Culture Coffee House on Wednesday night, drawing from Kenneson's "Life on the Vine." Dr. Mark Love had different groups create a gospel presentation based on one of the chapters from his book, and they were all very good. It was very informative, as well as formative, to go through that process. We'll be trying to share how "cultivating patience in the midst of productivity" is Good News!

Anyway, just passing on my recommendation of that book. Good stuff!
Hope to see you there!