I received quite a scare yesterday. After finishing up dinner, I checked my e-mail for the day to discover a notification indicating I needed to complete another course in order to graduate from the University of Chicago Divinity School. For those who are not familiar with the phenomena called “incompletes,” the UofC Divinity School will permit students (with the agreement of an instructor or professor) to turn in a paper after the deadline for class grades. A student who needs more time to write a better paper, or who might have taken way too many classes and needs a little extra time to turn in all their coursework, might then request an “incomplete” and receive an I on his or her transcript. Over the course of my time at the UofC, I collected two incompletes.
The first part of this summer was devoted to completing one of my incompletes, a course called The Acts of the Apostles. I needed to write a 10-12 page exegetical paper (I chose the community of goods in Acts 2:42-47 and 4:32-35). I finished it and turned it in about a week ago Monday. I had satisfied all my requirements (so I thought); the correct # of courses and all the required courses (History of Theological Ethics, Greek, New Testament, Hebrew Bible, Arts of Ministry, etc…).
So after a week of bliss (no more papers!!), I received an email suggesting I needed to complete my other incomplete in order to fulfill my required course load: Karl Barth’s Church Dogmatics. I was stunned, disoriented, sad, mad… you name it, I was feeling it–well, everything except for happy. I went into slight freak out mode, trying to think through if I could write the 20 page research paper for that class in enough time to give my professor a chance to grade it… but, what if he was on vacation? Would he even grade it if he was around?
Fortunately, this morning, after a restless night of imagining a postponed graduation and ordination, I received an email indicating that my Acts course was simply not recorded yet and that my transcript would be complete when the grade was submitted…. needless to say, this morning I am very happy! Graduation, here I come!