Seminary Notes 7: fuel for faith

When I registered for fall quarter a few weeks ago, I was able to register on a Wednesday instead of waiting till Thursday. Students at Fuller are able to register for classes in an order based on the hours of work that they have completed. (I assume most programs work that way but realize I could be wrong.) The more classes you have taken, the sooner you get to register. That way, if you are close to the end of your program, you get first access to the classes you need to finish. If you just started, you pick from what’s still available because there will be something you need to take that’s still open.

Registering a day earlier was a small moment, but it reminded me that I am completing the work. Slowly, I’m pacing through the program. I’m practicing celebrating so I probably should have had some cake. What am I saying? Of course I should have had cake.

This summer, I’ve struggled with feeling like seminary is a waste of time. I love it, but I questioned what good it will do to put this much time and effort and money into it. I’m ok. I don’t need an intervention, but I am trying to be honest about attending seminary in these reflections. I keep preaching the same truths to myself. One, I do believe that God has directed me to seminary and there’s a reason for that. Two, I decided when I started that if I never did anything different than the work I was already doing, seminary would be worth it.

Seminary Notes 6: goodbye- I mean, hello, Greek!

Last week, after I tucked my boys in bed Tuesday night, I clicked the “take quiz” button to start my Greek final and felt queasy when the details at the top told me there were 200 possible points and only 14 questions on the exam. The entire twenty weeks that we’ve sprinted through Greek I’ve been glad that I haven’t monitored my blood pressure when it was time to take the weekly quiz. Greek is fascinating. Studying it has changed my appreciation for the Bible. Moving this quickly through the work for a grade has been stressful.

Seminary Notes 5: am I here for grades or an education?

One of my favorite parts of taking Greek has been my Thursday night translation group. Every week, for nine weeks, the four of us have talked about calls to ministry, our everyday life, and prayer requests before we’ve jumped into homework. We’ve also discussed the classes we’ve loved.

More than once, someone has joked about a fabulous class having a hard professor. “I learned a lot but she’s a hard grader.” We laughed that we were keeping a running list of the tough graders so that we could avoid them, but it was just that, a joke.

I’m going to seminary to learn, to grow, to be challenged. I want to listen to intelligent, thoughtful conversations even if I have to scramble to keep up. I want to read content that will require effort and work on my part. I want my own skills to grow even if it means lower grades.

I’m not in seminary to get A+’s in everything.

Seminary Notes 2: be a beginner

Seminary is reminding me to lean into being a beginner. It’s been long enough since I’ve officially been in school that I have to remember how to keep up with a syllabus, email a professor, portion out assignments. This week I’m writing an interpretative paper and I’ve never done that, specifically with these instructions, before.

Since I’m counting the wins where they come it, reading so much over the past years has proved useful. I’m used to reading and underlining. I’ve spent time talking through passages with friends and that has helped with discussion posts. I love the subject matter.

More good news is that I have practiced writing. I have read widely and distilled information and then written some conclusions. I can look at the instruction for this paper and think, “1200 words? Piece of cake.” It doesn’t mean that my writing will be what the professor wants from this type of work, but it does mean that I can write it, get feedback, and grow.

If it’s not what the professor wants, guess what? I’ve never done it before. This is a great learning experience that will only help my time in school and my writing.

Be a beginner. You don’t have to have it all figured out.

Seminary Notes 1: glimpses of life

I started seminary at Fuller Theological in their spring quarter. In other words, for three whole weeks, I’ve been reading reading and doing assignments and checking syllabi just like it were 2003. I’m going to start a tiny project where I share little glimpses into seminary life for two reasons. One, because Future Lisa will be glad I did this. It will be amazing to look back over this journey when I’m finished and remember things that I’ve forgotten. Two, because I want there to be perspectives of grown women with lives and kids going back to graduate school.

I expect that each of these will look different and honestly, that’s really what I’m hoping for.

Seminary has looked like:

-a stack of books on my desk with pencils stuck in all of them
-23 tabs open on my computer (really- I counted)
-trying to think through 3 assignments simultaneously
-doing a light weights workout while listening to lectures
-deciding I needed to write a weekly blog post; possibly because I’m crazy

Will I be back with a weekly blog post? I don’t know. I would like to be. I wrapped up the last season of the podcast before classes started and I haven’t regretted that once. Time only stretches so far. But it’s possible that I could write a post in my morning writing. Then pandemic has made everything in life strange and a regular order of assignments and due dates has almost been a relief in the midst of work that cycles, seemingly coming undone every night.

I hope you are well!