This past weekend we’ve been away on the Moore College First Year Orientation Weekend (known as the First Year House Party). If House Party sounds a little strange (and possibly dodgy), don’t worry. It’s how Anglicans in this part of the world refer to a Church camp.
I had an amusing (and slightly embarrassing moment) on Thursday when I was chatting with a girl as we stood in the Registration Queue. She asked me if I was looking forward to “House-Partying”. I stared at her and said, “What?” I must have sounded a little shocked, because she burst out laughing at me. Truth is, I thought she was asking me if I liked a particular sort of Dance-Music, which would have been a random turn in the conversation. We sorted it out…
The weekend is a time for students and their spouses to get to know each other a little better and to spend time with some of the lecturers in a more relaxed setting.
We headed off down to Port Hacking, to a camp centre owned by the Anglican Church. The centre is completely surrounded by the Royal National Park and fronts onto the Port Hacking River. It’s a magnificent spot.
Right throughout the first week The College has done a brilliant job of making sure that all the first year students are throughly welcomed and feel like they know what to expect during the year. One of the nicest moments was walking into our room at the camp centre and finding we had a room to ourselves, with a double bed, a little note saying “enjoy your weekend together”, and a chocolate on the pillow. We felt really special.
The programme for the weekend was fairly low-key. There were 2 sermons from Fourth Year students. We went along to a seminar on “keeping your marriage strong at College” (very helpful). There was an information session from the external studies department, and we heard from the Principal about the qualities and skills that Moore is seeking to produce in its Students. Emma and I both found the presentation from the external studies coordinator very exciting. The Moore College PTC (Preliminary Theological Certificate) Course is being taught all around the world and is being translated into Spanish, Mandarin, and at least 1 African Language. It made me realise again the great hunger for knowledge of God’s word that exists in our world. We are in danger of being gluttonous with our use God’s resources. It challenged us to think again about spending some time teaching overseas.
The other exciting thing about the external studies programme is that they offer night classes to undertake a Diploma in Biblical Studies. Emma has enrolled in this course and is very excited about starting classes tomorrow night. She’s studying New Testament 1: The Synoptic Gospels.
For me, the weekend had ups and downs. I’ll write in another post about one experience that I had. I found the intensity of trying to get to know such a large group of people very tiring. In a large group of people it’s also easy for me to fall into continually measuring myself off against everyone one else. We’ve been warned against this many times in the past week, but the flesh is weak. I get discouraged and feel like I’m wrestling with myself non-stop to try to put these foolish thoughts away.
I heard something in the middle of all this that was a great comfort and help. We are here to know God. The study, the skills which we train, the essays and exams, are all secondary to this end, and futile if they do not serve this end.
It’s about knowing God. And that end in itself is better and fuller than anything else for which I could aim. It means that if I never did anything after Bible College, just went back to work in a call-centre. If I had grown in knowing God, I wouldn’t have wasted my time. If I died during my final year. It wouldn’t have been a waste if I had spent these years knowing God. It doesn’t matter what happens after college, it doesn’t matter that I don’t really have any solid direction to head. If I’m growing in knowing and enjoying God, I’m headed in the right direction.
And best of all, it doesn’t matter what happens in exams or assignments. How I go at preaching, what other students or lecturers think of me. All my insecurities, and all the possibilities for pride, are shut out when I resolve to know nothing other than Christ, and him crucified.
â€œFor I determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified. And I was with you in weakness, in fear, and in much trembling.â€ (1Cor 2:2-3 HCSB)
It was Paul’s rule for preaching, I’m praying that it will be mine for studying.