The First Week of Class

It’s the first week of class and a new semester at Pepperdine, and it’s been an exhilerating week. I finally finished my office move, and I love the location. It’s not very good for productivity, but it’s in the “line of fire” of the path students take through our campus and many of my former students have dropped by for a visit. Such visits always remind me of why I love this work, and I’m grateful for the grace God gives me to make a difference and I wonder how it happens despite me.

That difference was confirmed for me when I showed up to teach my class on Christianity and pop culture on Monday morning at 8 am, and 20 people showed up waiting to take the class that were not enrolled. I had to turn most of them away sadly, but after a couple of things that had caused me to question whether I should be in this role and at Pepperdine, I was reminded all over again of the ways God is using me in unique ways here, and I’m really grateful. I’ve always felt the grace and trust to be myself at Pepperdine, and I’m grateful for the students who keep showing up believing that I have something important to say for their minds and lives.

I am only teaching two classes this semester, and I have been at home every night this week by 8 pm. I can’t believe it. I’ve never had so much time just to live, and it’ s a welcome relief from the grueling schedule of the last three years.

The week was also punctuated with some enriching intellectual experiences as I listened to Dr. Scot McKnight speak on his spiritual biography, and to Dr. Robert Louis Wilkin on the meaning of St. Augustine’s Confessions. This reminder of Augustine’s equal devotion to loving God with his affections and with his mind was a powerful invitation to another semester of teaching, learning and growing in this place of blessing.

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