In only a few short weeks, I’ll officially be half way through seminary. Here’s some of what I’ve learned so far:
- Seminary is way harder than I thought it’d be. This isn’t to say I came in thinking it would be easy – I just didn’t think I’d be stretched in some of the ways I have been, and growing isn’t easy. Coming to McCormick I knew approximately where my faith was and where I needed for it to grow. That helped a great deal, but actually engaging in your faith is much more difficult in practice than in your head.
- You can’t do this on your own. I’m so fortunate to have a supportive partner, family and church, but I’m talking about more than that. You need people in the trenches with you. Last year I joined a bible study made up of other students, and in that group I’ve been able to address the issues I’ve been having in faith with people. We continue to meet every week, and every week I’m surprised at what we’re able to talk about. I’ve noticed a very different way in which I’m able to articulate my faith, and it’s mostly because of them.
- Call changes. Coming into McCormick I knew pretty much what my call was. I was open to it shifting, but I didn’t really want that to happen. But God has met me every step of the way in this place and keeps pushing me to new directions. It’s frustrating. It’s scary. But it happens, be ready.
- Preaching is actually kind of fun. And terrifying. This is one area where I thought I would either not have the talent or desire, but I’m in the middle of Intro. to Preaching and have had a blast. It’s actually one of the best classes I’ve taken. Ever. A few weeks ago I sat through 9 sermons and preached one of my own. In one morning. And I had fun! A year ago that would have scared the crap out of me. It was exhausting, but a wonderful experience.
- There are some pretty amazing people here. McCormick has folk from all over -from the south side of Chicago to South Korea. And they each have a story to tell. Listen to the stories, because your life will be enriched. I know mine sure has.
- Something amazing happens around food. Now, I kind of knew this already. But it’s taken new meaning at McCormick. You see, we eat a lot at McCormick. Ever Wednesday after community worship, at study breaks, at the second floor reception desk, at every event. Food is plentiful. And when food is plentiful, conversation is plentiful. With conversation comes community. And in community we find the Spirit. Brad Braxton used to say “where there is no music, the Spirit will not come.” I’d change that to say, “where there is no food, the Spirit will not come.”
- Spending time by yourself is entirely necessary. I don’t like to be by myself. I’m a big people person and need people 99% of the time. It’s because of seminary I’ve found how to do that 1%. Time for personal reflection is healthy and as much as I’ve been against it, have begun to learn to incorporate into my life.
McCormick has been the right place at the right time in my life. I’ve learned a lot. I’ve grown a lot. I’ve been challenged a lot. But I’m not done. God will continue to work in and through my life while I’m in this place and where ever I go after. Thanks be to God.