Okay, I'm being a little dramatic. Seminary has been a great experience and it's taught me a lot. It's given me a sense of purpose that I find empowering. But it's also a confusing sense of purpose, because it's not the purpose I expected to find and follow when I started.
So I find myself confronted with questions that I thought I'd already answered; questions like:
- Should I train toward being the pastor of a church? If so, why?
- Should I become an ordained minister? If so, why?
- Should I complete the Masters of Divinity program? The shorter Masters in Theological Studies Program? Or should I drop out entirely?
These questions derive from other questions, like:
- Is Church more often part of the problem or part of the solution?
- Is this generation's drastic turn away from Christianity to be bemoaned or celebrated?
- What does it mean to even say that you're a minister, and to whom?
I'm an extrovert and I need to think out loud, and I know most all of you to be thoughtful, intelligent people, so I want to engage in a frank discussion with you about why a person might want to become a minister, and whether it's something I should pursue.
I don't expect answers to the questions I posted above (in fact, please don't. Not yet. They are rhetorical.). But what I do ask of you, if you're interested, is that you pay attention to my postings over the next several days, which will further explain my situation and my thinking, and respond to them with your thoughts.
I'm aware that some of you are atheists, and I'm aware that some of you are believers. I'm aware that some of you love the communal worship of organized religion and some of you view the church as a source of oppression and regression in society. Some of you have had no problem making me aware that I'd be an excellent preacher, or that I'd be a terrible one!
These are exactly the kinds of disagreements I welcome. I'd rather not have the discussion turn into a debate over the existence of God, but I'm perfectly happy with a CIVIL and RESPECTFUL debate over the value of faith and religion, if it comes to that.
I confess that the title of this post was sort of misleading. I'm not really asking you to tell me what to think, but I'm asking you to help me think it through.
E.M. Forster asked: “How can I know what I think before I say it?” I'm asking you to help me figure out what I think through the process of "saying" it out loud.
I hope you can find the time to pitch in.