Let me begin by saying how good it is to have Brian back blogging again. Having him gone for a time made me realise how much I appreciate his writing; his style and content are exceptional.
What a week! (Am I saying that a lot lately?) Big decisions were made and a huge burden was lifted from my shoulders. As I prepared for life after life after graduate studies I reflected a little on my time at Seminary (Having completed a Bachelor Degree in Ministry and a Graduate Diploma in Theology and half a Masters Program). For the first time in over a decade I will not be studying academically.
I remember being warned about going to study Theology at seminary by some of my Bible college teachers, friends and pastors. “You’ll lose your faith” they warned. Some even joked that theological seminary should be renamed the theological cemetery and warned me I would leave the church in the first 12 months. The irony being I did leave the church within the first twelve months but along the way I actually discovered my faith (see my From Resurrection to Pentecost series).
Many sectarian groups such as the pentecostal one I was a part of fear Theology. Theology is simply faith seeking understanding. We all do theology. We all have beliefs about who God is. That is theology. It is true that some theology should be feared. Theology which depersonalises God and makes abstract propositions is dangerous. There is a difference, as I learnt over the past 10 years between knowing about God and knowing God.(Why I love reading Barth) Theology that leads to knowledge about God is not good theology. Theology which leads to knowing God is good theology! Furthermore, good theology is lived theology. It reaches out of the Bible and into our own setting and presents us with the reality of God with us.
After all of that I must say, I wish I could start over. I wish I could choose a program that was better suited to my spiritual and ministry formation. My degrees were a little all over the place and I do not feel they helped form me vocationally or academically. I wish I could have gone to a more respected school with a stronger emphasis on Biblical Studies. Nevertheless, God uses all things and I am grateful for the teaching I received. What can I say, they introduced me to Barth and Peterson!
Time for a sabbath’s rest…