I started this thing 3 years ago, with a B.A. in theology burning a hole in my hands. Now in my 4th year here in the Masters of Divinity program here at Asbury Theological Seminary, i have started to reflect on my time here.??
Of course my time here is not over yet. I have to finish this semester and the next one, after all. But here is the first installation of some initial thoughts on seminary and how I have changed through it..
Seminary is an odd place. And a diverse place.??
There is a stereotype that pegs "Seminary guy" as a weird, socially awkward, brainy dork who reads theology all the time and uses ridiculous words like "kerygma," "Hermeneutical," and "anthropomorphism" ??and doesn't know how to talk to girls. And "Seminary girl" is a homely looking, jumper wearing odd ball who has her hair down to her waist and plays the piano and loves cats.
And that is true. That guy and gal definitely exists.
But perhaps not as much as you think.??
There is the reality that seminary, at least this seminary, is an incredibly diverse place.??
There are Asians, Africans, Europeans, South Americans…and Canadians. There are young guys just out of college, there are 57 year old grandmothers, musicians, athletes, and geniuses. There are moms and dads, former business execs and??maintenance??men. And that's just a glimpse.??
Here in little ole Wilmore I have learned more about this big world we all live in.
In reality, this has been a fantastic place to learn, grow, and be challenged.
One of my first days there on campus as a student I'll always remember. I was with my good friend Thad, and he introduced me to the honorable J. Ellsworth Kalas, interim president of Asbury Theological Seminary.
He asked me about where I was from and what I was doing. I told him, and then he issued a warning to me that has always stuck with me. He said, "be sure that, in the pursuit of knowing more about the Bible, you don't lose your soul."
"Yes sir." I said.
This was the best thing i could have heard at the time.
Truth is, it can be easy to get so caught up in academia that the reality of the Word and the Power of Christ can get buried. And that hasn't happened with me – for a number of reasons i think.
One reason is that the spiritual??atmosphere??on campus is a sincere one. A real one. The love of Christ is tangible here on campus, and in the professors lives (most of them, at least).??
Another reason is that I maintained a secular job off campus. Being a server at a popular??restaurant??in Lexington has a way of knocking any hoity-toyty religiousness out of your system. And the truth is, i learned so much about myself and people and Christianity while i was there. I think everyone should have a secular job while in seminary if at all possible. It's hard. But it's good.
Here's to my last year at ATS – at least for now…??