Towards the End
In May of this year my Seminary journey ends. The last two and a half years were fun, stressful, maddening, fulfilling, and irritating. It isn’t for everyone…I can assure you that. But as I draw closer to the end I am beginning to reflect on my journey and what I have learned. This in many ways was a much larger challenge than I had originally thought. Not so much in the content but in my application of it and thoughts on it. In my undergrad I was presented with so many new ideas, concepts, and thoughts that in many ways I stored them for cognitive recollection only. This is not so anymore. My Masters has helped me learn how to apply this knowledge in a way that helps people and informs my own life. It was through this process that I began to understand God as a person…and not as an object, it was through this process that I came to a healthy appreciation for the Scriptures, the weight of their authority, the importance of our care in reading them, and their limitations (and yes they do have limits). I once had a professor tell me that I would learn more in graduate studies than I learned during my 4 years in undergrad…and he was right. Topics and issues that confused me beyond reason in undergrad have now been flushed out, understood, articulated, and used within my faith, research, and teaching.
I think on friends who have gone through similar studies who seem more unsure of who they are and their purpose in life than when they first began their graduate studies. While for some people this is a good thing (some people are in need of a slap upside the head) for most it is a tragic thing, if grad studies have left you more indecisive, less sure about who you are and what God has in mind for you than it is likely the grad program you were a part of did a poor job of fostering spiritual maturity. Sure they might have taught you how to critique a paper, or conceptualize a thought in a unique and impactful manner…but if you still lack an understanding…and faith in who God has made you…if this becomes fuzzier rather than clearer than what did this education afford you? What benefit was it if it did not bring you closer to the one true and living God? For most of us our studies are what we make them, so for those reading this that have a graduate degree or are thinking of acquiring one especially in religious studies, I implore you to take the time to make it personal. Search God out, walk with Him in this adventure and He surely will not let you down.
When I began my Masters I was frustrated and unsure of who I was or what God wanted me to do, I wasn’t currently serving in ministry anywhere and had just come from a church that did little more than stomp on my soul making me doubt everything about myself. While I still get frustrated from time to time (still not doing what I love for a living does this) I am no longer confused regarding who I am or what God is doing in my life. I am also busy doing the work of the Gospel, helping with worship, leading a small group, teaching a Sunday school, preaching at homeless shelters and in prisons…and now this blog as well. I am planning on being here posting something at least once a week and it will likely have something to do with issues I am researching or something that God has just taught me. I look forward to this adventure with all of you and hope that I can be a help to everyone and anyone who reads this. If you’d like to get a hold of me for personal questions or have a question in general please do not be afraid to contact me via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. God Bless!