Over the past five weeks I have been on a crash course of AS level religion. I’ve studied the Abrahamic, Mosaic and Davidic covenants, and looked at the conflict between Ahab and Elijah. In the coming weeks I will be looking at Amos, Hosea and Micah before spending December revising everything in preparation for the January exams.
Tuesday evenings from 6:30pm to 8pm, that’s all the tutor led instruction I get on the Old Testament and I am expected to study the notes I am given the rest of the week. This I do with diligence and with a certain sense of enjoyment. I like learning new things about God and I have discovered quite a few things about the covenants and prophets that I was simply ignorant of before.
Truth be told I’m finding it all a little strange. On the one hand I left school at 16 with good GCSE’s and this course is what I would have been doing had I remained in college until I was 18. Ergo it is more difficult than any course I have done before, yet I am finding the work terrifically easy. I suppose my private reading list, and my knowledge of theological terms and concepts has greatly improved my range of knowledge. Also the amount of study time I am putting into the course is helping greatly, and I now can give a detailed account of each narrative with relative ease (with more verse quotations coming daily).
Of course this impacts on other things. I’m scared to do anything unrelated to the course. The other day, for example, I was in a Christian bookshop and really wanted to buy and read C.S. Lewis’ “The Great Divorce”. I didn’t buy it because I was worried my brain would fill up with quotes and chapters of Lewis’ at the expense my studies.
It has also meant that I haven’t been able to comment on Vatican II, which started 50 years ago this week and which has led to some positive changes within the Latin Rite, and also a considerable number of negative changes.
I haven’t been able to comment on the new abortion clinic in Belfast, the first in Northern Ireland which is currently being picketed.
I haven’t been able to comment on so many other things I would have liked to and I haven’t been able to watch Downton Abbey, Homeland or Boardwalk Empire... yet in just a few weeks I will be sitting in my exams and for a little while at least (until February) I will be free to enjoy myself.
Pray for me in my studies, my “literary labours” as Saint Aquinas called them, that I could remember what I read and hear, and that I could have good writing skills in my exams, answering the questions fully and to a high standard so that I could come one step closer to serving God within Holy Orders.