The old cliche stands true – time does fly when you’re having fun. It is hard to believe that I have already had 4 weeks of classes, and that tomorrow marks my 2 month-iversary since coming to Germany. Rather than writing something profound today (because, you know, I’m regularly profound), I thought I’d just take the time to write a plain life update here.
|LMU Seal (from Wikipedia Commons)|
First on my courses at Ludwig-Maximilians University. There are three main types of courses.
- Lectures involve simply showing up and taking notes. No outside reading. Attendance is optional. I’m taking two lectures in ethics: History of Ethics (1) and Applied Ethics (2), a practical theology lecture: Introduction to the Study of Liturgy (3), and an Introduction in Ecumenical Theology (4). What I’ve noticed in each of these lectures, is that an “introduction” to any topic begins with a complete history of the theme – which occupies most of the semester. I suppose that this is a rather systematic and orderly way to approach a topic, but I’ve been a little surprised at the consistency of the approach… of course, “systematic and orderly” is the German way.
- Seminars require attendance and are focused on discussion of outside readings (in much smaller quantities than the typical theology school reading load at home). Seminars can also involve oral presentations, papers, and exams. I’m in a practical theology seminar on Education in the Church and Congregations (5). I’m still figuring out the relationship between the institutions of church and state here in Germany. The topic of education is an interesting place to start figuring. My second seminar is called “Son of God, Teacher, Liberator, Brother – Christological Debates in Church History” (6). We’re studying the classical christological debates now, but later in the semester we will move into some non-Western perspectives, liberation theology, and even non-Christian perspectives.
- Übungen or “exercise/practice” courses are a chance to just read and discuss “for fun,” without any other real assignments. My Übung course is on Theories of Prayer (7).
- Finally, I’m taking a German language course (8). You know, to improve my German.
That brings the count to eight!
I’ve also jumped in to life at the Collegium Oecumenicum.
- We have weekly community dinner on Monday nights followed by a lecture/presentation, called “Dies Academicus,” on random topics of interest, e.g., the Higgs boson particle, finance, the lives of people with disabilities, the Rwandan genocide.
- I’m also singing in the COe Choir. We’re working on a Andrew Lloyd Weber medley to perform in January.
- Just yesterday I attended my first Tanzkurs (dance course – you can learn German here on the blog!) We learned the Rumba and the Cha-Cha.
- I am a leader for our “Länderabend,” a USA-cultural evening that takes place at the end of November. The Americans who live here are planning a meal (fried chicken, greens, cornbread, pies, sweet tea), a cultural presentation, entertainment and dancing!
- Another upcoming event is “Begegnungswochenende” (Encounter Weekend) – where small groups from COe go to visit Lutheran congregations in Bavaria for a weekend. Our groups plan and conduct worship.
Those are really just the high points of all that is going on here. I came expecting to have a rich, full experience, and to “do it all” – school, culture, community life – and I’m doing it!