In less than a month, I will do something that has scared me for almost 20 years - I will enter seminary to pursue a Masters of Divinity and, God willing, be considered for ordination.
Let me unpack this a bit.
When I was in my teens, two great & powerful things happened (sorry for the ordering of these, my love):
* I fell in love with a mystery far greater than myself (God, YAHWEH, the big Kahuna, Big Momma in the Sky, whatever you call your Mystery)
* I fell in love with a power far greater than myself - my wife
I thought that I'd finish my college education and then go off to seminary. Somewhere along the way, I traded the prospects of a clerical collar for the prospects of what I thought would be short-term use of a coat & tie. I planned to experience the corp. world, then come back to what I felt was my vocation. Slowly but surely, the "joys" of the big business world led me to beat the prospects of seminary to death with a big 'ole practicality stick.
God is funny though - all that business world stuff that fascinated me faded and I came back to the same place I was when I was a youngster, thankfully with a hunger for the Mystery (and with a deeper love for the power greater than me). I've struggled (still am), I've grappled (in process), I've moaned and searched and tried with all my might to avoid....surrendering. The Mystery is so much bigger than me, so uncontrollable, so vast - to me, the God metaphors of gender do not capture the Mystery that I find myself surrendering to. This Mystery is like water - unimaginable, comforting, dangerous, constant.
So in less than a month, I'll place my books in my satchel and surrender. To what, you might ask ? Well, someone much smarter than me articulated the ironies of what seminaries teach. The word seminary gets at a lot more of what I find myself signing up for:
Middle English, seed plot, from Latin s min rium, from s min rius, of seed, from s men, s min-, seed. See s - in Indo-European Roots.
I yearn to let my roots go deeper, to cross-polinate with others who are on their journey, to be watered, to learn how others have watered, to get lost in the stories that form the story I find myself in. Seed plots are interesting in that they are tended to be pieces of ground where seed is sown for producing plants for transplantation. Transplantation is a big word for a Texan like me, but I am cognizant that seminary is about getting away, it's about getting inside and then exapnding that - transplanting that - to garden that I find myself in.
Honestly, it still scares me - surrendering is not really my stock & trade. But I find myself not only scared, but also excited by the chance to be planted in a plot filled with the awe and mystery that ancient Christians valued and for which people nowadays yearn.
I could use all of the advice, postive thoughts, prayers, insights and a-has you might have - please let me know.