Wednesday, November 24, 2010

So you want to go to seminary?

This video has been making the rounds on Facebook recently. As much as it makes me laugh (“rural North Dakota”, whoever made this was clearly Lutheran ☺), I struggled with the video because in between offensive comments the man asked some tough questions and the woman had no good answers. All she could offer were cliqued quips that sounded even more naïve in the automated computer voice. I wondered: could I do any better?

The questions the video raised caught me off-guard. After all, I’m three years and a fair amount of student loans into this seminary experience. I also feel just as, if not more, called to be in this profession as I did when I started. But the man is right. I know all the statistics. Clergy do have the highest rates of alcoholism, depression and obesity, the moving constantly thing is hard, and there isn’t lucrative financial compensation. On paper, this seminary thing is crazy.

But the more I thought about it, the more I realized, maybe there isn’t supposed to be a rational answer. I did not come to seminary because I listed the pros and cons and being a pastor came out as the best option. I came to seminary because it began to feel like the only option. Vocation, be it to seminary or the medical field or accounting, is the thing you find you cannot not do.

The woman in the video said she wanted to go to seminary because she was called by God. I would change the voice and say that I am in seminary because God called me. The action is all God’s. And no, it doesn’t make any logical sense. But faith doesn’t always make logical sense. That’s why it’s called faith. Following God’s call to seminary may not measure up to the world’s standards of success, but neither does following a carpenter’s son and a ragtag bunch of fishermen. So here I am. Naïve? Maybe. Idealistic? Probably. Called by God? Yes, I think that too. Dear man in the video, I’ll let you know how it turns out for me.

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