This is the very first post in a brand new writing adventure…a new writing adventure about a new living and learning adventure that begins for me on August 8, 2012.
You see, I am finally going to seminary.
It is an adventure that has been a long time coming. A very long time. Perhaps we would have to say that it is an adventure that began the first time I made my mother explain to me why I, an eight-year-old Presbyterian, could not take holy orders and become a nun. The question and the call showed itself several times in my life, but I never had the strength or the faith to stare down the obstacles in my way and embrace the journey. And even in these past years since my licensing at the Calvary Baptist Church, I have devoted more effort to trying to find a way to say no to this journey, instead of finding a way to say yes.
That back and forth is all over now, at least for the moment. Earlier this year, it became clear to me that I needed to figure out just how to figure this call that had already embraced me. And so I set about the process of searching for the right program and the right school. I interviewed, I visited, I pondered…and then I made what most would consider a very unusual choice.
I, an ardent lover of the Baptist distinctives — I chose an Episcopal seminary. The Virginia Theological Seminary, to be specific.
There were lots of reasons for this decision. I’m sure that geography played some factor in the choice — I wasn’t in the mood to uproot every facet of my life (I life that fits me quite well, thank you very much). The simple fact that there are very few progressive Baptist seminaries (meaning that there are very few that really support the nurturing of a pastoral call in women) also had something to do with my choice. But in the end, I know that I made this choice because it is the right place with the right people to help me walk the walk ahead of me.
I know that because of what happened the day I had my formal “visit” and interview during the application process. I was sitting in on a class about learning methodologies, and all around me was swirling yet another discussion about just what were we going to do to save the church…again…when the professor calmly said, “Perhaps this is the wrong question. Before we worry about the church, we need to decide what kind of disciples we are called to be, and how we help others grow into their own discipleship.” I knew that I was in the right place.
Yes, I know. I am going to spend the next two years stating over and over again, “I am a Baptist”. But that is okay. I think that the Episcopal church could do with a good dose of the Baptist distinctives. And I am more than certain that they have a thing or two to teach me, as well.
And so, the journey begins. I have another 10 days to get ready, but back to school I go. Thanks for coming along with me.