The power of a syllabus

A faint memory came back to me this morning. I was searching for comments on Samuel Well’s book, Improvisation: The Drama of Christian Ethics (Brazos, 2004), and came across a syllabus for an ethics class taught by Dennis L. Durst, M.Div., Ph.D at Kentucky Christian University. This is a fine syllabus, and I remember receiving these in seminary (Harding Graduate School of Religion in Memphis) and how it would set me on a course of discovery.

I’m reliving this morning those moments of quiet reflection and those bursts of amazement that I couldn’t wait to share with my fellow students on that lonely two-hour road between Searcy and Memphis. I’d always try to get those books on the syllabus from a used book store and sometimes could but most times couldn’t. Each book led me to another and a well-chosen paper topic–which I found out the hard way is best chosen with the teacher’s blessing and direction in a planned office appointment early on . . . I used to consider this goofy apple polishing but after a C and a D on a paper thought perhaps I’d better learn the difference between shining apples and humbling myself before a person who was the best person in the world right then to direct my studies.

So, with that little memory, I want to share this link with you. May it create in you the same effect that syllabi (that’s a geeky correct grad school way of saying syllabuses) had on me in grad school . . . like a ticket to a passage way into a whole new world, one book and idea deserving and craving and leading to another . . . and ultimately and intentionally closer to God and shaped by His word and into His image.

Dr. Durst’s syllabus