LibertyU Blog – College Materials

I’m not going to make this blog post very long because it’s late at night, I’ve been up for a ton of hours … I’ve been doing a bunch of school work … and my brain is about to go into bye-bye mode, very shortly. I will be posting later this week regarding my initial week at Liberty University, but for right now, I just wanted to give an update on class material-type things.

When I decided to return to college — even if it was only for online studies — I knew that mentally I had to get myself into the student mindset once again. This meant taking the whole experience seriously as a student … and so in addition to getting my textbooks for my classes (actually, two classes that haven’t even started yet will need even more textbooks) I did invest in other things: Like an actual LU backpack, organizer, LU notebooks, some LU clothing and other LU merchandise I could use (like a decal for my laptop, for example). I know it sounds weird, but it actually helps. I feel like a student again, plugging away at schoolwork. When I get ready for classwork, I take stuff out of my backpack and work on things. When I am done for the day, I put it all away. The daily organizer is also very helpful, because I have a ton of online class work — far more than I expected, quite honestly.

Anyways, just wanted to share an update and be sure to come back later on!

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Reading: The New Testament

I officially start my Liberty University program next week, and I wanted to have completely read through The New Testament before I started … so as of today, I can officially say that have done that. I originally was taking detailed notes for all the non-Gospel books (for a project I’m working on), and that certainly contributed to my lengthy reading of the New Testament … but after finishing Jude I decided to go back and read Matthew through John first, and didn’t do any note-taking then, to save time.

That was actually a smart idea, because those four books took a long time to get through, as I read them in chunks after work, over the span of several months. After I completed all of those, I moved on to the final book — Revelation — because my aim was to have that be the final NT book I would read (order-wise).

All I can say is wow — Revelation is a shocking book. The amount of detail in it regarding the last days is amazing, and I can see how that book is more than enough to scare people into wanting to avoid that time (unfortunately, most will never read it). As for the other books, a lot of them mix together in my brain currently because it’s been awhile since I’ve read them … but each one — from what I recall — was a fascinating and wonderful book. Reading the Word of God, preserved to this modern day, just blows my mind. Hopefully the more often I read the Bible, the more details will stick with me over time.

Back in 2015-2016 I tried reading through the Bible (in a year) with one of those daily reading books, but it just jumped around way too much, and so much context was lost. After that, I decided to just read the NT from start to finish, essentially.

From here on out I will read the NT in any order I wish, as I really wanted to just absorb what the KJV version had to say, from start to finish.

Left Behind – 2000

Earlier in the year I reviewed the recent Left Behind film that came out, and I felt like it didn’t have much to say in terms of God or getting saved or anything like that. My feeling was if it didn’t have much to say about that, it probably didn’t warrant a viewing.

This original film version starring Kirk Cameron from 2000 does a better job, and wasn’t nearly as low-budget or bad as I remembered. I would say it’s on par with a bigger-budget-than-usual made-for-TV movie from that same era.

The film follows Cameron as a reporter who is on a plane when the Rapture occurs, after he has done a new story in which Israel is nearly invaded by its neighbors. After he lands, end-time events unfold. I’m not sure how true to the movie is to the book, but it’s surprisingly watchable from start to finish.

The weakest parts though are the very odd ones with the airline pilot finding God after a lifetime of neglectful behavior and even cheating on his wife. Maybe it’s portrayed better in book form, but it just isn’t convincing at all here. Also, the ending with the Antichrist is very jarring and felt unnecessary, from a narrative sense. That could have been saved for a sequel (there are two, apparently).

If you find this for cheap or see it on TV, I would say give it a watch. It doesn’t have a ridiculously strong Biblical message, but it does offer much more than the newer film adaptation does.

LibertyU Blog – Getting Ready!

Wow — hard to believe how far I’ve come along with my return to college in such a short amount of time! A month ago I wasn’t 100% sure I was even going to attend a real college anytime soon, but after I decided to take the plunge, here I am, with a week or so remaining before classes officially start.

I’m currently enrolled in two classes — Hermeneutics I and Theological Survey I — both of which will run for two months. It’s been over half a decade since I’ve taken a college class of any kind, so this will be quite the return for me!

I called Liberty U Admissions today to clear up financial aid stuff (I just can’t get it this time around due to previous loans, so it’s all out of pocket) and they also explained that my courses do not include textbooks — I would have to get them via the store. I honestly thought the Willmington School of the Bible had pre-made textbooks specifically for the classes, but nope! This is truly a return to normal classes for sure!

I ended up having to buy four textbooks — three Biblical textbooks and one report-writing/standards book (likely for use with all the papers I need to write). I should also mention how nervous all this paper-writing is making me — I haven’t really done that in ages also!

In my next post about the college I’ll dive into some things I picked up to help me get back into the swing of things, but I will say this regarding textbook ordering: I was able to get three of the books via Amazon, and when I went to checkout, Amazon informed me that if I had a .edu address, I could get a free Prime membership for 6 months! Using my @liberty.edu address I quickly said yes and — in addition to saving approx. $50 from the school’s online bookstore — I was able to save at least $50 for Amazon Prime (which I didn’t have). In fact, since I can renew it for the next four years, I just saved $200+ from Amazon.

I’m very excited to be returning to college — even if it’s just purely online-only this time around — and I’m excited to document my journey of learning!

The Egyptian, Masonic, Satanic Connection

I was drawn to this book because I wanted an in-depth, not-sugar-coated look at the occult and its impact in modern society. I kept seeing references to this book online, and figure it must be the go-to source of material for this subject matter.

However, at 109 pages, I really feel like the book does very little to fully explain Egyptian, Masonic or Satanic content in any significant way. I understand what the book is trying to do — briefly cover what each of the three are about, spend a couple chapters saying they’re linked to one another, and then have a couple chapters devoted to real-world crimes occult followers commit … but throughout my reading of it I felt like there was very little substance to it all. I mean it’s pretty obvious Ancient Mystery Schools, Egyptian Mythology, Masonic rites and Satanism are all connected and it’s highly unlikely anyone picking up this hard-to-find, expensive book would be unaware of any of these.

What I expected the book to do was explain — with real-world crime cases one after another — how the occult was involved. Instead, we get about 10 pages of low-resolution kids’ drawings, vague references to a few cases where actual names are used … and that’s it. Buried in the back of the book are all the references cited, but what the book really needed was more real-world examples in modern society, and less hard-to-read verbatim quotes about very cryptic passages in very old books.

It’s not a bad book, but considering its high price (over $20 new, for a small-format and roughly ~110 page book), it’s hard to justify buying it. I also want to point out the book is in serious need of spelling/grammar editing and even basic typesetting, which actually does hurt its readability.

I’ve become a student at Liberty University

As of August 1st, 2017, I have officially enrolled at Liberty University as a student.

Nearly a year and a half ago, I started this site with the desire to document my journey of self-study regarding The Bible and God. Since then I’ve been pretty productive in most months, providing commentary on Christian films, books, documentaries and online classes.

Unfortunately, one thing that has always been in the back of my mind is the idea that I may be “missing out” on major parts of the Bible and understanding of more intricate, larger-in-scope Christian topics. So, since 2015 I’ve been researching different possibilities school-wise, and as of the time when I started this site, I just wasn’t sure how to proceed.

In my very first post I wrote this: “I really do need to learn more, and going to church in-person is a real struggle for me…so this online, distance-learning approach is the best way. -&- Also, at the end of the day I’m not looking for a degree — a degree is nice…but a degree is a very worldly thing. -&- what I’m looking for is a much better understanding of The Bible, how it relates to the world we live in at this point in time…and a better relationship with God.

As you can see, I wasn’t necessarily looking for a degree early on (as I already have multiple degrees) and I was very concerned about a degree “focus” being a “worldly” thing I’d be pursuing, vs. a closer relationship with God. A year and a half later, I’ve realized that I need to make the next step and get actual training from experts (at what is the largest Christian university in the world), vs. trying to learn on my own, all the time. Surprisingly, of all the major, regionally accredited Christian schools I looked at, Liberty was the most affordable. It also was the easiest to enroll in, considering its reputation — no unnecessary amount of paperwork/essays/references/etc. — many schools wanted multiple church references.

This program I’m now enrolled in consists of 20 courses, and if all goes well I plan to study more things at Liberty. It feels wonderful to be a real student again (last time was 10 years ago exactly, in 2007!), and at the end of August classes officially start (I still haven’t decided what I’ll be taking first). Lastly, I did look into pursuing more classes at Koinonia, Moody Bible Institute and other lesser-known, less-accredited Bible schools (primarily to save money), but Liberty is what I’ve found to be the best mix of reputation, affordability and flexibility, by far.