And I am so grateful for the chance to meet all the new students, both residential and online (I'll be residential). There was a Presbyterian pastor/elder, a community church worship leader, and lots of Baptists and Grace Brethrens. I believe I was the only Nazarene in the bunch. And you should have been there when I told a Southern Baptist guy my denomination puts women in leadership, even ordains them. At least all he did was shake his head. The Presbyterian guy smiled.
I have to tell you something that people from my seminary might read, but I'm OK with them knowing this. Last March, at seminary preview today, I happened to run into the only female professor in the seminary. She is the first female professor in the seminary ever...and she has become a friend. Initially, we only spoke for a few minutes, as she was running to a class.
But as the chain of events in our decision process unfolded, I called her and asked her all the questions I would need to know to decide on a seminary. I know now that if she would not have been on staff I would have gone elsewhere. This is a really warm and caring group of individuals, but I'm already pushing their envelope in a semi-big way regarding my beliefs and convictions of what the Bible has to say about women using their leadership gifts. So I would have gone elsewhere. Probably an online program that would have left me languishing for community and personal face-to-face connection and discussion.
So I'm glad she's there, and I'm glad I'm there, too. And, most of the time, I was encouraged by our interactions this weekend. I was encouraged to see that almost 1/4 of the students are female, even if many of them are online. I was especially proud of the two moms with young kids who were there, signing up to start the online program so they can balance the demands of motherhood and ministry. You go, girls!
But what did I learn? I learned this...seminary cannot be primarily about grades. It has to be about learning--an internal motivation to learn and grow in my walk with Jesus and in ministry or I will burn out. I'm going to write up a short motto to that effect and place it above my laptop.
And as I crash tonight so I can do a 12-hour day tomorrow, I'm smiling as I think about my new student ID; and the collegiate feel of the library; the dining commons; the engaging, challenging students; and the beautiful campus. I'm back in school, friends. And this time, it's for the best reason ever.
As my husband said last night, "You are where you are supposed to be doing what you are meant to do."
Thank you, Abba, for this opportunity. Less than 1% of 1% of Christians get to study the Bible and God's intentions for us in seminary. How amazing that God is allowing me this opportunity. I'm hoping to make full use of it.