Saturday, September 20, 2008

Seminary 101

When you tell people you're going to seminary, inevitably the question comes up regarding what it's like. Well, let me tell you what it isn't: all these spiritual, God-loving holy rollers walking around with Bibles in their hand -- well, actually they do, but everybody's got a Bible in seminary. We need them for class. But it's like I said a couple of days ago, the study of the Bible ain't nothing like Wednesday night Bible study or Sunday school. Scholars study it from a historical and literary point of view. It's a piece of work that theologians have picked apart and given commentary on. Some you may agree with. A lot I don't.

And seminary, well, it's the place where some of those theologians are born.

This place is really a microcosm of what we see in the much larger society. Unfortunately, what you see happening in the world, happens between these walls. I say it's unfortunate, but I have to reconcile that everybody doesn't come to seminary with the same intentions. Those of us who are here aren't perfect, but definitely in need of change. We're heterosexual, homosexual, transgendered, black, white, African, Asian, Latino, a melting pot of the face of America. Some of us know God and have a relationship with him and others of us simply know about him. Some of us are searching for God here. And many of us are grappling with this concept called faith -- trying to gain it, trying not lose it or trying to build upon it.

I'm going for the latter and let me tell you it's hard.

There is a running joke that seminary is really a cemetery and I guess in a way it kind of is. Old doctrines that you may have grown up with can die here. You die here -- at least levels of you. But new levels of you can be born here too. For me, this place is becoming a place of transformation. My theology, whatever it was, whatever it is, is deconstructed daily only to be reconstructed into something -- and not necessarily in a bad way. God is dealing with my biases here. I find myself meeting him in the most unlikely places and seeing him in the most unlikely faces.

Seminary is challenging my beliefs and definitely rattling my faith. But more importantly, it's pushing me to seek God even more. It's a constant reminder that the journey through this place isn't easy.

Three years. Three years.

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