LibertyU Blog – Week 4 Update

Well, it’s been a few weeks now since my last update, and it’s not because I have wanted to wait that long — I simply I have been swamped with classwork and my regular full-time job as well. I do IT work for a living, which is me staring at a computer screen for 10-11 hrs. a day, and then on the nights I have to do schoolwork, that’s another 2-3 hrs. of Bible-study/work of writing papers, researching stuff, taking quizzes, etc.

In short, this is not an easy program for an adult with other commitments, time-wise. My original plan was to take 4 classes this fall (there are two 8-week session times each semester, and in the first session I am taking these 2 classes), but today — after knowing the remainder of this year will be busy overall, I have decided to drop the 2 classes scheduled to start in October, and just pick my classes up again in January 2018, instead. Now, I was already planning on scaling back the classes I’d take anyways after this semester, so it’s not a horrible thing — just a slight change of plans. But it also means not having to pay tuition and books for 2 classes, which — honestly — means a lot to my finances right now. My medical bills and other costs I have to deal with are just crazy.

As for the classes themselves, I’m enjoying them, and learning some neat things — like how to use Bible websites and Strong’s numbering systems to dig into individual words’ meanings, context and structure. But, like I said, it’s just a lot of work overall, and I have already written multiple papers about different topics.

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LibertyU Blog – Welcome Week

My last post had me in an exhausted state, because on that day I had just spent about two hours formatting my first paper in Turabian style, which is the writing format that all written work at the university needs to be in. It was hard to do, but after submitting my paper yesterday and getting good feedback so far, I think I’m understanding it enough to do research papers with some confidence!

Today marks the end of the first week of classes at Liberty University, and I think this school is an excellent example of how to do online studies. Multiple times each week they host their “Convocation,” which is basically a big seminar all students on campus attend … however they also livestream (and record) each event for current students, so even remote students won’t miss out. I watched this live, and felt like I was part of the activity!

Then, on Wednesday evenings, they have “Campus Community,” which is a worship/church service that again, all* students attend. The very first one had a cool animated/performance art piece showcasing the dangers of constant social media/phone use. (*I’m not 100% sure if attendance is required like it is to Convocation, but I would have LOVED things like this at the state university I went to years ago.)

These frequent concert-/seminar-/performance-like events keep students around each other, and reinforce Christian messages that the school wants learners to stay aware of. Now, the music is something I’m not super used to, but I like the variety!

Lastly, on Wednesday evening I also took part in a live, interactive Turabian Writing class that lasted about an hour, had multiple assistants answering questions real-time in chat, and a real-time professor webinar presentation explaining things us students needed to know.

Class work-wise, I finished up my first paper yesterday (about the Trinity), and after you submit it, you have to read other students’ work and then write multiple, cited responses to them — I still need to do that. In addition, I probably have 100+ pages of text to read by Monday, across three textbooks. Oh, and this week I have 10 readings of Galatians 6, which is supposed to be written about at the end.

Overall, I am really enjoying this school experience. The cost-per-credit for this program is very affordable and the fact that I can do it while still working full-time and paying normal bills is great. I thank God for this opportunity, and want to make sure that I don’t waste it.

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!

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!

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.

 

Buddhism – Charlie Campbell

Buddhism is also extremely complex, involving all sorts of paths and obstacles one must travel and overcome in order to essentially become nothing, when everything is said and done. Why anyone would want to bother with such a weird religion is beyond me, but Charlie does a very good job (as usual) explaining all the odd intricacies that permeate throughout this mysticism heavy belief system.

I don’t have anything bad to say about this film, and I think it helps give a very thorough — yet approachable — insight into what believers of this faith think, and how one might go about trying to talk to them.

Hinduism – Charlie Campbell

In this video Charlie covers Hinduism, and it’s pretty fascinating to learn about the origins of Hinduism, how it’s very much like New Age Spirituality in many ways (all is part of God, but he is an impersonal God) and it was weird to hear about the 300+ million “avatars” that are the Hindu god Brahman in various physical forms.

Even more bizarre is how the entire religion is clearly India-focused, as the name itself is from an area of land in that part of the world, and almost all of its followers are from that specific nation. That alone should tell its followers that it’s not possibly true, because if all humans were capable of becoming perfect and becoming part of Brahman, then it’s very bizarre only one nation really — in the entire world — knows the truth and can escape the eternal torment of reincarnation (due to humans’ wicked behavior).

It was also sad to see that the religion has kept so many of India’s population in extreme poverty … because according to Hinduism, it’s actually bad for anyone to help others less fortunate. That — you see — will screw up your chances after you die, and may cause you to come back again, which isn’t what you want. So people avoid helping the poor on a massive scale. This bizarre mindset also explains (to Hindus) why there is such a divide between poor and rich people — poor people are that way because they were evil previously, and rich people are well-off because they were very good people previously, and deserve it.

The entire religion is very odd, and the way it’s designed to keep the caste system in place among Indians is extremely unfortunate, but helpful to the wealthy.