Saturday, May 09, 2009

An Average Theologian

I actually got a C in my (one and only) Seminary courses last quarter. A flippin C? MERCY! I'm a pastor? Embarrassing! Yes, I did question my salvation for 30 seconds but then rationalized it wasn't because I'm a bad theologian. Although I joke seminary has minimized me into feeling like an "Average Theologian." My C status came because of life's on-going time crunch and this class was a not so good fit for my learning style. First, I knowingly had to submit papers where my editing (if there was any at all) was worse than a third grader because I did what I could with the time that I had. And second, honestly, I'd rather learn about God and what he's doing in the world in a much different way than sit in a class room (very different than Jesus taught his disciples btw). Some seminary classes are very linear, slanted toward one learning style that isn't mine. I don't get energized sitting behind a desk in a room with no windows for three hours of lectures. I need to group discussion, how about a movie clip for an illustration?- or give me some play-doh and paint so I can create. Fifteen page papers and final exams are like bamboo shoots under my fingernails. I even asked my prof if I could write poetry or make a video instead of writing a paper. He said, "Seminary is a word institution." Man, how I wish the education system would put out magazines :). I just didn't have the time to put 40 hours of book study into one 4 credit class to spit out info in papers and tests while trying to prioritize my wife and two kids. One of my professors actually said, "If you want an A in this class, it'll take forty hours of studying." Forty hours of studying for one class??? There's only 168 hours in a week, dude! (What if a student was taking more than one class?). Most people need to work 40+ hours weekly and sleep at least 6 hours a night. That leaves 86 hours a week to spend time connecting with God, being with family, eat three meals daily, exercise, pay bills, surf facebook, AND then hit the 6-inch thick required reading with no pictures?
All this to say, Seminary (part time for the past 5+ years) has humbled me immensely, taught me respect for the grandeur of God's word, given me many all nighters reminiscent of college, (and caused me back pain carrying around 7 large books in one bag, no exaggeration), while all at the same time reminding me that a Masters Degree will not make me more effective for God. I am learning a lot, but it's like sand paper for TP. And the tassel isn't quite in sight but I'm going to if my life depended on it, not that it does, it just makes it more dramatic for this blog. Wah-wah right? Wendy reminds me to remember this in fifteen years when our kids are complaining about trigonometry. And believe me, I will. I'll tell them how I had to suffer too, (much like my parents had to walk up hills in the snow to school and had no remote controls), it's a part of life.


mamajoyCarol said...

You're no average theologian to me.
You bring delight in Jesus, awe for his ways, trust in his plan, faith in the perfecting process we're all in, reverence for our Father God,
joy in his service, wonder in his miracles, appreciation for his blessings, affinity for his children,
pleasure in his company, adoration expressed in worship,sensitivity to the beauty he's placed around us both in creation and his created beings,healthy curiosity,
respect for other ways of thinking without being overly influenced.
What I've seen is that you are a more informed person than you were 5 years ago. Seminary gives a broader view of what is going on in Christian thought out there. You're taking advantage of that, every day, in every interaction you have.

Kerry said...

Keep at it. Sometimes our best doesn't look like it, but we do what we can. One of my profs said once that "If a paper is worth doing at all, it's at least worth doing badly." We can't always be amazing in our schoolwork, even if the purpose is to make us better ministers and theologians. I think of it as part of the calling God has put on our lives if we're in ministry, and as long as we take something from a bad or annoying class, God's being faithful.