To those of you reading this entry: this particular entry is the first in a series of writing assignments that will be posted to this blog. As such, it goes to two different audiences. I wanted those of you who occasionally read my ramblings to know that we are welcoming in a new audience, my new classmates in my current great adventure.
One of the reasons that I selected the program at VTS was that as a Masters student I would have an opportunity to create the program that met my needs and the needs of my own individual call. I would not be bound by a list of requirements or even, as it turns out, a list of prerequisites barring me from taking classes that beckoned my soul. It is that structural fact that has allowed me to take the class Psalms and Spirituals before I completed the series of Old Testament studies, a fact for which I am deeply grateful.
There are a couple of actual “requirements”, though. And one of those required classes, “Introduction to Theological Reflection”, has the possibility and the promise of being just about my favorite activity this fall. You see, I really like to write. And the words that follow are provided in response to our first assignment — we are asked to introduce ourselves to our online classmates as a writer.
Most of my life I have been a writer in one fashion or another. I have been a journal writer since the age of about 8 years; I wrote and edited newspapers in middle school, high school, and during my undergraduate years. I pursued writing with a vengeance as I completed my M.A. thesis on the position of women in the 18th Dynasty of Egypt in my early 20’s; I worked as a proposal writer; I worked as technical writer creating computer manuals for programmers and systems analysts;
I worked for a local news agency writing weekly event calendars and neighborhood guides.
And then, in coming to the world of the Calvary Baptist Church, I learned about blogging. My pastor blogs and writes regularly for the Associated Baptist Press; another friend blogs for the publication Baptists Today, a fellow student among the congregation blogs about the process of writing her dissertation, and yet another wonderful pastor with connections to our community blogs…I followed them all. And then one day, when I was reading John O’Donohue’s book, Beauty: the Invisible Embrace, it occurred to me that maybe I had something to say about the relationship between art and faith. That day, I too began blogging under the name Singing Along the Journey. It realized that I come from a community that writes and I decided to join in the fun.
Much of Singing Along the Journey is a consideration of the role of music in a life of faith and the role of art in worship in general. Other entries are just about my own journey — my travels, my concerns, my observations. The writing there reveals my struggle with the decision to go to seminary, my attempts to avoid it and my attempts to convince myself and those around me that I did not need to go to seminary in order to answer God’s call on my life. I continue to blog there about topics related to living, music, and worship. But I created this blog, Sevierly Baptist, specifically for my seminary experience.
I am, for the most part, a morning writer…although I will stop and write when the spirit moves me. I also love to write on trains when I’m travelling, but I haven’t had the chance to do much of that lately. And I write with the tools easily available to me. I love to write on my computer, but I am not one of those people who will open up their laptop anywhere and start writing; in those situations, I prefer pen and paper (even though I have atrocious handwriting).
Returning to the original question — who are you as a writer — I would say I have been and remain many things as a writer. I can still write a very crisp set of instructions or an incisive business report (just ask the Trustees at church). And I can, I think, bring to life in words an observation or a reflection that perhaps on occasion can inspire or entertain. But I have never thought of myself as a theologian and I am very, very excited to be part of this course. It never hurts to add yet another mode of expression to the arsenal.