One of the things I appreciate most about seminary is the chance to pick up so many topics and examine them. We gather around and hold up a topic or a text and look at it from all sides. We listen to different people talk about it. We formulate ideas and watch other people poke at those ideas. We consider the implications of who God is on a topic. We put it in the context of Scripture as a whole. It’s immersive and it’s short. (Quarters are 11 weeks long and they fly by.)
I’ve taken classes about interpretation and classes on the Old and New Testaments. I’ve taken spiritual formation classes and Greek (3 quarters of Greek and I’m just getting started). I’ve started studying church history and it has only fueled a desire to learn more. I think we benefit from knowing church history. We will feel less unmoored if we realize that the church has probably found herself in many same situations. I’ve taken classes on women in church history because most church history work overlooks them. I’ve looked at the movement of theology since the Enlightenment and worked through an understanding of family ministry. I’ve studied missions and its history, learned to evaluate movies and stories theologically, formulated an understanding of earth as God’s creation and become more aware of my part in stewarding it.
All of it prepares me to take up a new topic and do the same thing. I bring that same style of learning, of doing research, of seeking out diverse voices to anything I want to learn in school or out. These skills will change my approach to my work for the rest of my life.
I’m about halfway finished with my program. It’s a great place to put a marker down: here’s what I’ve learned, here’s what’s shifted. It’s been long; sometimes it’s been tiring; and it helps to remember all that I’m gaining in the midst of due dates and assignments.
There is so much more to come. I’m taking Women in the Old Testament: Text and Context this summer. In the fall, I’m going to start Hebrew. I’ll lean into some pastoral courses. I’ll start planning for apprenticeships. It’s exhilarating and occasionally overwhelming.
I’ve discussed before in one of these notes that I’m not here for grades (though, of course, I get grades and want to do well). As long as I pass, no one is going to care about grades later. I want to learn new ways of thinking and writing, of understanding and talking. I want my circles to be broadened and my love for orthodoxy to be deep and generous. So far, those things are happening.