Several weeks ago I mentioned that this fall I would be returning to Truett seminary. Shortly thereafter I received a few comments and emails from people wanting me to talk through that a bit more.
First, a little clarification. Most acquaintances I've spoken with think that I have a significant amount of the requirements to complete a seminary degree, but I actually only attended Truett for a semester in the fall of 2002. So I'm still practically at the beginning. I left for one reason-- I was broke. Today I live with meager financial resources, but back then I was so deep in the hole it made no sense for me not to be working full time.
But it was a good time for me to put the brakes on a graduate degree for other reasons. Highest among them is the fact that I was not in a place where I was ready to learn. This was in the days shortly after we had all finished reading A New Kind of Christian and we "knew." We felt McLaren had pulled the veil back on hundreds of years of church history and we were ready to ride the tide of revolution. (This was, of course, before McLaren proved to be not much more that what many of his critics charged him with, and that we, in our McLaren hysteria, denied vehemently-- A repackaging of a 60's political-theological liberal) In the midst of all the "above the line" talk, I was not prepared to stand on the line that the saints of the past had wrestled hard with, and had found God on. I was only ready to preach the emergent gospel of communal bliss. (I was slow to grab on to the "justice" side of that gospel coin.) I cast a knowing eye on the college-sophomore phenomenon of being a smart-ass-know-it-all, but I was not so different myself.
I'm sure there are similar things I am blind to now, but hopefully I'm in a more humble place, ready and open.
The reasons I am returning are twofold. One is that a few people that I love and respect dearly have been gently nudging me in this direction for a few years. They have confirmed things about me that they felt were some of my gifts. Always a sucker for the good things people have to say about me, I began to take these compliments to heart and slowly came to a realization that I needed to go ahead and get it out of the way.
The second, and perhaps more authentic reason for heading back to Truett is that I am beginning to get tired of a life that is simply one more damn thing after another. For years I have preached the gospel of the mundane-- the good new that God is alive and well in the routines and boring moments of people living hardscrabble lives in the normal day-to-day. I still preach that gospel and believe it fully. But I'm also ready for the other side, the side that says God is also alive and well in new things, in the adventure of lives that seek out challenges.
So, that's that. Hopefully there will be seminary update blogs as the years go on.