It was a Sunday afternoon, and I was getting ready to teach a workshop on breaking up in the Church.
The previous Thursday, I had a piece published on why the Church needs to start getting political.
On Monday, I was about to start seminary.
It was a whirlwind weekend, to be sure. A seemingly random assortment of events to all land on top of each other, 3 out of the blue things to be happening in my life. Except that, as I was reflecting on their randomness that Sunday afternoon, the Spirit whispered, “Haven’t you been paying attention?”
I’ve been trying to find the words to explain seminary to people. It doesn’t help that I keep forgetting who knows and who doesn’t know – so I’ll casually mention something about school or class or homework and I get a WHAT. You’re in grad school?? Followed by a WAIT WHAT. You’re in seminary!?
I’m still trying to wrap my head around it, too. Don’t worry.
Soo, why seminary? I keep getting asked. I kept asking myself, to be honest.
Seminary has been a nudging in my life for a while. A “psh, I don’t want to be a pastor. Shh, Spirit, quiet,” type of thing. But the nudging has always remained. The yearning for deeper knowledge, the desire to be in an academic setting for the things I constantly Google, the BOOK LISTS. I mean, c’mon.
But I ignored it. It seemed like a lot of work. It seemed to not really fit into where I saw my life heading. It seemed to not make too much sense.
And then I kept getting asked to write on topics that I would love to write on and have so many thoughts on… but I don’t have background in. I kept getting asked to speak into things that, let me tell you, I have opinions about – but do I have the correct knowledge base? I want to be clear that I don’t think you need a theology degree to speak into matters of God and you don’t need to go to seminary to be a pastor. Some of the most wise, spirit-filled people I know have never, and will never, step foot in seminary. I think that’s a beautiful picture of our God.
But I am also oh-so-tired of the Christian blog-o-sphere being ruled by people who have no idea what they’re talking about. I’m tired of people (men) whose word is taken as gospel truth when it’s so very opposite of the Gospel. There’s so much noise in the Church right now, especially online, and so little is grounded in Truth. I don’t want to make more noise; I want to bring more Hope.
I’m tired of a white-washed, male-interpreted version of Christianity. I’m tired of a white-washed, male-interpreted version of our God. There are days I can’t turn to my Bible because I can’t get over how many men have twisted the words over the years, I can’t get over the years and years and years of white male authority being the only recognized biblical authority – so I turn to the Spirit instead. I deeply desire there to be more women in this conversation – not just in small group settings or in women’s ministry, but academic conversations and theological debates and behind the pulpit and at the table.
I have so much appreciation for the women leaders I see in the Church. The women I see on staff at my own church – teaching and pastoring and getting ish done for the Kingdom. The women I follow online, speaking and writing and bringing important Truth to the masses. Women I see kicking every door down silly men still insist on putting in our way, because the Spirit leads and we don’t answer to men.
I realized if I wanted to see more women like this, I should become one of them.
I finished my workshop and I had so many people coming up to me saying, No one talks about this. We never hear about this. Thank you for speaking out; we need more of this. Which followed a few days of me getting emails and messages online of, We need more people saying this. We need to be talking about this. Thank you for bringing this up.
And I was driving to my first seminary class (that still feels surreal to type) on a Monday afternoon realizing this is what I’m doing. This is why I’m here. This has been where the Spirit has been leading all along:
I want to have the conversations I see the Church ignoring. I want to be a needed voice of Truth in areas that aren’t getting much stage time right now; I want to point people back to a Hope they’ve forgotten about or misplaced or misnamed. I want to see the Church thrive, and I think to do that it’s time for a lot of things to change (at least in the American Church).
And thats not to say I’m going to save the world. That’s not to say I have all the answers the Church is missing and I’m the only one having these needed conversations and HEY LOOK EVERYONE, I’m doing everything right.
I hear whispers that I want to be full on conversations and I see pain that I want to be healed and I sit in a cross section of culture that I think our Church is conveniently ignoring. And I want to see that change. I want to play a role, however small, in making that change. I want to see the American Church enter real life. I want to be a part of it.
And so I am sitting back and learning. I think that’s the most important thing to do these days, when you’re desiring a new conversation – it’s so easy to jump in and start it and think you’re the best person for the job. I have so many thoughts! Let me share them! Let me tell you all why this is important!!!
I want to take in decades of other’s thoughts and knowledge and test it against my experiences and see where we end up. I want to see what I’ve been wrong about and where I’ve messed up and what I need to change about my views of God. I want to sit next to classmates who look different than me and think differently than me and (will probably) come to different conclusions than me. And I want to see what conversations they’re having.
There’s so much beauty and heartache in the Church. There’s so much work to be done.
I’m still working full time and now going to seminary full time so GUESS HOW MUCH FREE TIME I HAVE?? I’d like to keep this writing adventure going full steam ahead, but I’m not quite sure what that looks like in this context. You can expect a lot less publications and a lot less polished blogs from me over the next few years. You can expect a lot more rambling-thoughts-with-no-thesis and a lot more Instagram posts about ice cream. And wine. And wine with a side of ice cream.