I was asked to publish the poem that I read at the Canadian Reformed Seminary’s convocation on September 8. I’ve posted it below.
Today is your day.
You’re off to Great Places!
Your off and away!
You have brains in your head
You have feet in your shoes.
You can steer yourself
Any direction proffs choose.
You’ve selected a way
To the senior’s room.
For 3 years you’ll stay
Till your brain starts to zoom.
And when things start to happen,
Don’t worry, don’t stew.
Just go right along.
You’ll start happening too.
What’s this? It’s alephs and dalets,
Ugaritic towns and Aramaic sounds.
Who’s this? It’s Hebrew’s great valet,
Smith is in town, serving up rounds
Of yiqtols and tiqtols with hithpalels to spare.
Oh what wonderful acumen!
The wryest of jokesters!
Exegesis like bitumen.
Wit dry like a toaster.
Your heart is a patter, your feet are a pitter.
You’ve entered the ancient world of natty nazirites and nasty Nephilim.
John Smith is your leader, navigating letters
To archeology, geography: we can master these elephants.
But your adventures in Israel have not ended.
A new professor has this way wended.
His favourite word is delight (Doesn’t that rhyme with N.T Wright?).
Time to pull up your socks and let new worlds take flight.
Verily, Visscher, the president of our tour bus.
With vigour he will demonstrate that Wright is wrong not right,
That textus receptus should be textus rejectus.
He waxes and wanes, filled right to the brim
With Romans and with Paul; with Josephus and Cephas; he has it all.
Speaking with vigour
He joins class dispute
Showing his valour,
Wisdom of repute.
Get off your Facebook, your twitter, your Pinterest
Off to the realms of Sabbath rest in Hebrews and righteousness in Paul.
Ponder Roman coins, Pharisees peak your interest,
Seek new understanding of Jesus’ words, wisdom, and call.
But you want to reflect on these old truths a little longer.
Welcome to Domus Dogmaticus, each room is a world of its own.
Standing on sola sciptura our house becomes stronger.
The rooms strengthened by age-old wisdom, come dwell in these fortified bones.
Dr. Van Vliet
Brother Jason is our guide, mapping dogma far and wide
He is the daring doctor, diagnosing Schleiermacher’s bad liver
And Barth’s fractured breastbone; a constructor on the side
He shores up failing arches with adverbial attributes. If ever
You wonder about the extra Calvinisticum or the principium unicum, then ask this magistrum.
Cobwebs swept away.
Come for a day.
Your brain will be amplified.
They’ll say you are enlightened, now truly woke.
Now that you’ve wandered these halls of ancient oak.
Berkhof, Bavinck, Velema, your new guides soak
You in knowledge, which new mysteries provokes.
Your head is swirling with all the knowledge you’ve learned.
Your heart is swelling because of the status you’ve earned.
You’re a bit premature; another proff has turned
To take his way down; No, class is not yet adjourned.
Dr. Van Raalte
Its time to go deep into story of the church.
It’s ethics, It’s polity, flagrant heretics and deep schisms
Van Raalte discourses on these from his perch
Dividing and distinguishing all the historical isms.
Halacious historians who hystericize about scholasticism are his specialty for
Terrible Ted will not brook
These illogical conclusions
From ill-educated books
So deeply steeped in delusions.
You’ve wandered into these halls; now sit in thrall
As canonical law and men of Geneva wildly dance
In the history of this terrestrial ball.
Now you’re part of that history; its time to find your dance stance.
But before you’ve joined the music of the spheres
And your course in the journey of life is plotted,
Sit down once again; another proff steers
Into this room. Now praxis will be unknotted.
Dr. de Visser.
From a country far off and truly exotic
De Visser comes bringing the elixir of wisdom
To counsel and preaching. His teaching hypnotic
Gives insight for mission and bright vision for kingdom.
Homiletics, Poimenics, Catechetics, from rhetorical strategies to careful aesthetics,
This doctor quietly discerns
Each question that burns
In the reason of each student
For answers prudent.
Concerns about pastoral care and the high affairs
Of the church. His teaching has the ready anecdote
To illustrate the foolish choice and the hidden flair
Of discernment; learning to reach the right antidote.
Now you’ve sat in this high hall of learning for three years.
You’ve tasted the white honey mead of knowledge
And learned the steps of wisdom before your call appears.
It’s time to leave that room, yes leave your college.