"Soon" has arrived.
My first two courses (ever) in "sem" are Perspectives of Evil and Suffering and Hermeneutics. Needless to say, I've been stretched, challenged, affirmed, convicted, confused and renewed in my faith in Jesus. My commitment to follow Jesus has not being changed, but instead purified, as a gem is scrubbed, cleaned, cut, carved and polished until it shines for what it is - an individual, perfectly beautiful, perfectly refined piece of God's creation, created to do good works for Him.
I've learned (or been reminded of) a few things this week:
1) There are people from ALL different walks of life that have been called to serve the Lord.
2) An evangelical seminary does not mean that the views are generally similar. I've been surprised by the vast differences in basic theology. It's kind of cool.
3) I'm thanking God for all the great conversations with Brandon, Josh and Steven over the years, which have forced me to think about what I believe, wearing a variety of lenses. Some here don't have that background. It doesn't make me better, worse, or prideful. It just means I've not been blindsided by some concepts this week. A few times people have asked "Wow. Those are some tough first courses. Are you doing ok?" The answer is yes. I'm doing great. This is amazing! I'm having so much FUN! But I get where the question is coming from.
4) "Why are you here?" is not a directed comment from a professor, but instead a question we need to ask ourselves regularily. I've asked myself this question a few times in reflection, and God keeps saying "because I told you to go..." The truth is: we can't be here to reinforce our own ideas, or stick to what we know, what we've always done. We have to be here so we learn, develop, grow and gain wisdom in this world of theology and pastoral care. It's fine if our ideas are reinforced in the end, but we need to stretch and be open to what God wants to do with us.
But why are you here is not just a question for the student sitting in seminary. It's also a question we need to ask ourselves everyday in our relationship with Jesus. He's asking you, me, all of us 'Why are you here?" Why are you here in this relationship with me? Is it to have a back up plan, or to be transformed? Is it because it's the right thing to do, or because you hear God's voice in your life.
In much the same reason for being at Seminary, I'm in this relationship with Jesus to be purified. I want to be scrubbed, cleaned, cut, carved and polished until I shine as an individual, perfectly refined piece of God's creation. It's going to be challenging, it's going to stretch me...but I'm doing great. Its amazing! I'm having fun.
So, why are YOU here?