It’s been about a million years since I posted. Life gets busy…I find other things to do.
Today however I am feeling the need to write. To explain to the universe what in the world is going on in my head right now. Mostly because seminary is a weird, weird place.
I’m in the library now, theoretically finishing my reading assignment for class tonight and writing a self-inventory of my current understanding of the New Testament. Not sure what to write I’ve ended up here instead. The guy behind me is typing so aggressively I think he must be trying to punish the enter key on his keyboard (seriously…what could it have possibly done to merit such torture??? calm down!!) The guy across from me is reading something old looking…and text messaging up a storm. There are scantly clad undergrad girls wondering around outside and dazed-looking grad students scurrying around with those backpacks on wheels because they have too many books and NO TIME! Did I mention seminary is a weird place?
One of my classes is called Introduction to Christian Theology…a very serious title. One of the assigned readings for that class asserted that theology is “paying attention to God” and how God is related to everything going on in the world (or I suppose also how everything going on in the world is relating to God). It’s been stuck in my head since we read it last week…theology as simply paying attention. Here, at school, I only have 1 thing to do…school…so things seem to move a little slower and I seem to notice a lot more of the small things. Like how I really really like blueberries. And the odd way the buildings smell- old, musty, and…something else sorta spicy. I notice how kind and eager for contact people are…and how guarded and careful some people have had to become. See earlier note about noticing the aggressive typing of the guy behind me. Basically I’m just sort of creeping on everyone and everything around me. And I’m finding it very, very interesting.
The absurdity of it all grabs me sometimes. These fancy buildings (totally have a crush on the library) and important scholarly terms (ask me about eschatology…no wait, please don’t) all seem a bit absurd if the light is right and you tilt your head a little. But then there are also moments of such eye-opening clarity and soul-refreshing honesty that you think “oh, yes. finally.” It’s like everything else- a mix of the beautiful and the broken, the holy and mundane (guy behind me just burped LOUDLY).
And there are a lot of new ideas and new cultures and new ways of thinking that I just don’t know what to do with. A professor yesterday told us that the story of Barrabas might be just a metaphor for Jesus taking the place of every human being on the cross. Really? Ok…I’m not sure what to do with that. In another class we discussed the brokenness of systems- like juvenile detention systems- but can’t figure out how the church should address it. Not sure what to do with that. My roommate anointed the furniture in our rooms with olive oil from the kitchen so that she could feel the presence of God. Not sure what to do with that. There are people in my classes who struggle with whether or not they even believe in God…and they are in seminary? Not sure what to do with that either.
At first all of these things had me worried. What am I going to do??? And then the answer…which is such a gift…do nothing. Just be for now. Let it all exist in all it’s glorious tension. Let it happen around you and flow through you but don’t hold on to it. Just let it be. At some point I’ll have to wrestle with some of this stuff but I’m not graduating tomorrow…I’ve got time. Today’s job is just to pay attention to God…and get back to work on this self-inventory.