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The “Ministry of Writing” course I teach at Campbell University Divinity School is a challenge for me, given that my students are at various levels of preparation. And, it’s a challenge for students, given that I require of them such a broad range of assignments.

We work on proper form and style for everything from newsletter announcements and press releases to creative sermons and obituaries. And, recognizing that we live in a digital world, I also require students to create an online blog and post at least four entries to it. For some students, it may never go beyond that. For others, including some who are already veteran bloggers, it could become a lifetime practice.

For readers who might be interested in gleaning insights from the thoughts of divinity school students at various stages of their ministry journeys, here are links to some of this semester’s more intriguing blogs, posted with the authors’ permission.

By profession, Wendy Tingle specializes in the management of radioactive waste, which should come in handy when she finishes divinity school and takes a church position. When she writes about inaccurate portrayals of “dirty bombs” on television, she knows whereof she speaks, and when she writes of a conversation with an aging pastor about the unwitting role he played in helping launch the “conservative resurgence” (and now regrets), you can feel the pain.

Chad Reed has served this year as an associate to Campbell University’s campus minister. He also plays in a band, is big into music, and writes of it often, though not exclusively. I liked his recent post about what he would do with an extra hour each day.

As a youth minister, Jeffrey Sholar has a heart for others and a perceptive eye. He recently remembered a local soldier who was killed in Iraq, and thoughtfully pondered the significance of shoes.

Paul Burgess is a sharp as they come, with enough quirkiness and savvy to create a blog with a comic book theme. He writes with real charm about his love for Eliza, his soon-to-be bride, and with appreciation for his father’s assistance in helping him remodel a house for them.

The pastor’s life is nothing new to Wes Balmer, who effectively speaks of a pastor’s frustrations, but can also glory in the elegance of a bicycle — and the joy of a long ride.

Paul Cannon is a rarity these days — he plays the organ, which should put him in great demand, as many churches have organs, but no one to play them. Whether remembering Mr. Rogers or a burned-out Arby’s, Paul does a nice job of including links and photographs in his blog.

Life hasn’t always been easy for Kristi Stratton, but that hasn’t slowed her down. She loves dogs and is a major league baseball fan, and writes with flair about those and other subjects close to her heart.

Deanna Deaton is a star student by any standards. She’s a singer-songwriter who taught music in public school for several years before sensing a call to ministry and devoting herself to full-time studies. In meditating poetically on the joys of sleep or speaking eloquently about her love for Woman’s Missionary Union, Deanna is a woman who has something to say and who says it well.

Like my students, I’m relieved to see the end of the semester at hand. I hope, however, that some of them will continue blogging, not for a grade, but for the joy of writing and the contribution of positively-charged thoughts to the often-negative blogosphere.

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