It is that point in the semester where everything is busy. Busy with papers, with reading, with translations. In the midst of the academic stress sits another big hurdle. First call paperwork. Those of us entering the Spring Assignment process have to have all of our forms in by December 1st. As the rush of the end of the semester wraps around me, I find it difficult to live in the tension between these two deadlines. How am I so much still a student, and yet somehow also almost a pastor and seeking a call? It is a complicated juxtaposition of emotions and demands.
Tonight, I had dinner with a group of friends. We have met for dinner every Sunday night since our first year. It began as a Greek study group, morphed into a Hebrew study group when we became middlers, and has now come back together to work through the Greek translations for those in advanced exegesis together or “parallel play” (other homework) for those of us who do not have Greek. Though the language and work change, the format remained the same: dinner, translation, and then frequently a glass of wine. All of it steeped in talking and laughter. It is a place where I know I am safe, where my questions are honored, whether they are “I have no idea what this Greek tense means” or “I have no idea where my life is headed.”
This deep and wonderful community is what seminary has given me. More than any language or exegetical tool, what I know I will take into my ministry is the knowledge that there are people who love me. Who believe in me, who value my thoughts, and who challenge those thoughts. Who will not let me settle to be anything less than who God has created me to be. Seminary is by nature an in-between time. As I sit in this time, I am grateful to do it with these people. With faculty who challenge me, with colleagues who question me, and with friends who believe in me. These are good questions to be asking.