Thursday, August 13, 2009

Top of the Third

I started packing this week. By “packing,” I do not mean filling a suitcase with several changes of clothes and a toothbrush in preparation for a short excursion. No, by “packing” I mean that I am once again preparing for a change of residence – I am once again moving from my childhood home in Oak Park to the campus of Wheaton College.

For my third year, I am moving in a full nine days before classes begin, on August 17, this Monday. I had the option of moving in ten days in advance, but it is still the earliest by far. As some know, I have been elected to the Symphonic Band Cabinet (the student leadership team) for the 2009-2010 performance season, serving as chaplain. The entire Cabinet has recruiting duties during freshman orientation, which begins next Thursday, August 20. Prior to that, the Cabinet is taking a retreat, to the Kalahari Resort and Convention Center in Wisconsin Dells, which accounts for the other three days. (Can I just say that I have the best major department ever? What other department would send its student leaders to Wisconsin Dells?)

The reader can probably surmise that I will have a very busy first week after moving in (and might not finish the moving in process until the end of that week anyway). It will be a whirlwind first week, but once it is over and the semester begins on Wednesday, August 26 (at eight AM for me!), I have quite a few other things to look forward to.

I have two classes this fall that I am particularly looking forward to. The first is Christian Thought, a general education requirement. According to the catalog, the course is “an investigation into the beliefs of the Christian faith.” My instructor for the course is Dr. Paul Kirbas, one of the department’s adjunct instructors. I had Dr. Kirbas for Gospel, Church and Culture, the first in the Bible/theology general education sequence, my freshman year, and really enjoyed that class, so I was very pleased to get a seat in his section of Christian Thought.

The other is Introduction to the History of Christianity. It is an elective for me, and some who know me well might wonder why I am taking a history elective, when history has never been a strong subject for me. I wondered too, when I realized what I was doing. But it is a subject that interests me, I have room in my schedule, and I figure that it might complement Christian Thought.

Something else I am really looking forward to is this year’s Artist Series season. As it happens, 2009-2010 is Season 60, and we have an impressive list of seven events to match. Seven events equal seven exciting evenings at Wheaton College.

A little bit later in the school year (January 9, to be exact) is the One Hundred and Fiftieth Anniversary of alma mater herself. From what I have heard, special events are scheduled throughout 2010. I am quite looking forward to the fun.

And, of course, I am looking forward to that which makes Wheaton College what it is – its people. I have had the privilege of seeing a handful of my Wheaton friends over the summer, as well as keeping up with many others long-distance, but there comes a point when one wants to be able to wake up in the morning and know that he will see friends all day long. Two weeks and that will be my daily experience!

This is Rubio, over and out.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Ignite College Discipleship

One of the biggest blessings for me this summer has been regular attendance at my home church, Calvary Memorial in Oak Park. It was literally the weekend I moved back to school last August when Calvary called its new senior pastor, Dr. Todd Wilson. I had heard him preach when I was home from school on various breaks, but this current summer vacation was the first extended period in which I could listen to his preaching regularly. I have really enjoyed being back at Calvary for these three and a half months.

During the past school year, Calvary instituted a new ministry for the college students in its congregation, called Ignite College Discipleship. At first, one might think that this “college ministry” focused on students attending Calvary during the school year, but Calvary’s college ministry instead focuses on the college students who call Calvary their home church.

The program consists of Sunday morning Sunday school, Wednesday night discussions (seminar-style), and occasional social events. During our Sunday morning meetings, we have studied the Gospel of John, closely examining what it means to be a disciple of Christ – rather than just a Christian. We have not had time for every chapter, but we have gone through at least half a dozen, including Chapter 3 (the concept of being born again), Chapter 10 (the Good Shepherd), and Chapter 14 (Jesus as the only Way to the Father). Wednesday nights have been discussions of the practical manifestation of that Sunday’s topic (e.g., prayer, entertainment). My work schedule has unfortunately kept me from the majority of the Wednesday evening meetings, but I have had perfect attendance on Sunday mornings.

And Ignite has an excellent leader. Aaron Reyes is a Wheaton alumnus (so of course I give him extra points for that) who has given a lot of his time this summer leading our study of John. His passion for becoming like Christ is evident in each of our meetings.

We have just one more Sunday morning meeting this weekend, in which we will finish our study of John. I am looking forward to it. As I have written before, I have spent my entire summer at home, but I have found my three and a half months in Oak Park immensely refreshing, and Ignite has been one of the most refreshing parts of my summer.

This is Rubio, over and out.