After a long dry-spell of writing, I’m back. I’ve had a five-year journey through seminary–a journey which has been one of the wildest, life-changing journeys anyone could hope to take. I was remarking to someone just the other day that I basically don’t even recognize the person I was when I started seminary. This may come as a shock to family members who may not see much if any difference at all, but my theory is that family members tend not to see who you are; they’re too busy presuming you’re who you’ve been…but that’s another blog post for another time.
At the end of a momentous occasion like that, folks tend to ask me what I’ve learned, what’s different, what’s changed. Here’s a list. It’s not exhaustive–that would make for bad blogging. It’s not even prioritized–it’s just a handful of things which I’ve observed in myself and others.
- I’m much more at ease with myself. To put it in terms of Christianity, I’m more solidly convinced that God actually loves me and that He’s not merely tolerating my existence. For a great deal of my life, for reasons which I’ve blogged about and other reasons I haven’t, I’ve not really understood how God loves me. After having studied Christ’s salvation and heard the prophets speak, studied baptism and the Lord’s Table, I think I understand better now. It’s made all the difference. I’m in a position to be the least-anxious person in a conflict. I’m in a position to ask others about their day in ways that my family just doesn’t do well. I’m in a position to empathize with–cry with, even–others.
- People’s reaction to you often tells you more about them–what they believe about themselves and God–than you. Part of being the least-anxious is giving people more slack about how they say things and how they treat others. This is different, in my experience, from giving people passes for bad behavior. Instead of passes, this gives context where mutual understanding can be built. And understanding each other is usually a great way to speak truth to struggle.
- The Bible is one coherent story. Instead of a bunch of loose threads which sort of loosely hang together like beads from a fortune teller’s doorframe, the story of the Bible is one story, played out in many episodes. This has helped me see the relevance of prophetical books which are not often talked about in sermons.
- I’m not up to the task of showing everyone how it’s done. And if God ever wants me to, He’ll equip me to do so. Until then, I’m in process…or I’m being sanctified, if you prefer. And in His timing, I’ll get there.
- Jack Collins is, without a doubt, one of the finest pastors and professors I’ve ever met. He is patient and ready to listen–and he encourages my ministry in teaching and music regularly. Should I move away from St. Louis, I will miss him terribly.
Like I said, a handful of things with which I have come away from seminary. I have found it to be very far from the common joke of “seminary, cemetery” which is so commonly thrown around by others who don’t know Covenant Seminary from the inside. In fact, that joke frustrates me and makes me profoundly sad.
Just like leaving the school. It makes me a little sad, too. I went where I perceived God told me to go, and now it’s over. I don’t know what’s next, but I’m looking. So if you know of someone looking for a Music & Liturgy pastor who can also preach, teach, and equip others to teach, send them my way. 😉