Thursday, May 11, 2006

The first steps on the journey have been taken...

Well, it’s official – I have completed my application to seminary. The waiting game now begins, but I’m quite OK with that waiting time. I have spent the last 4-6 months of praying, conversing, sharing, debating, and pondering with others and myself as to if I should be pursing graduate-level work in Waldorf education and working for The Harvest as a Grades level teacher or attending seminary as a way to step into full-time ministry (with an option to seek more theological training and education afterwards). Often, I would fall on one side with great weight and great determination, only to pick myself up and hoist my present and future onto the other side with equal resolve and belief in my decision. But this one has been made and I am excited to see what lies ahead for the next 2-3 years.

For most of February and March, I had decided to pursue both options equally, feeling that, having been given the chance to make a choice, I would be best served by walking down both paths for as long as possible, in hopes that my way would be illuminated at some point. I began communicating with representatives from Biblical Seminary and Regent College to determine which institution would be best suited for me and I for them. I eventually chose Biblical because of their focus upon training and educating pastors and lay leaders who cannot afford to attend seminary full-time because of the fact that they’re already in full-time ministry. Having such a program and heavily promoting such a program by Biblical was the impetus I needed to select them over Regent.

From the other side of the fence, The Harvest, a school and community that has been absolutely wonderful and redemptive for me in the past year, offered me a job opportunity that was quite hard to refuse. For every summer/year of training that I attended (funded by monies that I and the school attained through loans), by working at the school for the school year, those loans would be waived. They were offering a one-to-one, loan-to-grant arrangement wherein I would be working with children and teaching music all week long, training as a Grades teacher. This has been a place full of staff, faculty, parents, and children who have loved me, accepted me, honored me, encouraged me, and shown me intense love and appreciation for my talents and abilities. They sincerely were investing a great deal into my life and I have been greatly humbled throughout the school year by being a part of their lives.

But during the course of Holy Week – Maundy Thursday, Gethsemane Vigil, Good Friday, and Easter Sunday – I experienced a moment of clarity of purpose that I had been seeking after during my quest. I came to the belief that, had I chosen the training that The Harvest was offering me, I would have been relying upon my life, my own abilities, and myself in general. By staying in the Houston area for the next 3-4 years, I would not have grown in ways in which I feel I should been – seeing the larger world around me, experiencing an intense theological education I feel would be foundational to the rest of my life, and following my heart and passion for God and the God’s creation.

However, by choosing to attend seminary for the next 2-3 years, I am going to be relying on God’s guidance to see me through on this path. My funding has not been confirmed – I am seeking grants from the school, seriously considering loans, and definitely looking to work 16-20 hours a week at a job. I cannot rely on myself in these situations – I will second-guess my decisions and backpedal from what I do not and cannot know; but by leaving this to God, I am going to be living according to a depth of faith that I will totally new, fresh, exciting, engaging, and exhilarating – all while being quite scary and frightening. I’d be naïve not to be nervous in making this step of faith, but it has to be made.

The Harvest has been fabulously supportive of my decision and I will be doing free-lance work for them all summer long: helping with their website, editing and compiling a revised set of handbooks, and development of their overall program. The rest of my summer will be spent in preparation for my departure: securing funds, attaining a job, finding a place to live, and saying good-bye to my family and friends in Texas. And oh yeah – I’m hoping to complete between 30-35 chapters of my Genesis commentary before the summer ends. That project has been such a stabilizing (yet freeing) creative and theological force in my life during this tumult. If anything, Genesis In My Eyes has been both my muse and the motivation behind my decision – I want to do justice to my writing and to the lives & stories in the book of Genesis.

To everyone I’ve talked to about this decision – thank you for everything. I love you all so very much and, if you’re a Texas resident, I will miss you tremendously. Your support, encouragement, and kicks-in-the-ass will never be forgotten; it is because of them that I write this today. Peace…

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