With regard to the whole seminary idea, Learner has two main fears:
1) “Believing his own press” and overestimating his academic faculties that he’s really cut out for this. He so longs to learn and grow, to write and teach, but he does wonder sometimes if he just has hermeneutic or homiletic limits (among others) that he will never be able to exceed.
He’s experienced some of this before in other areas – sports, music – in which no matter how hard he practiced or how long or passionately he gave himself, he hit his plateau and there he stayed. Being around some of the folks here, he wonders if that will be the truth academically. He’s always felt much more “street smart” than “book smart,” but there doesn’t seem to be much place for “street smart” in a world of grades and degrees and programs.
2) Not having the courage to, if it’s all wrong, recognize that what he had at one time thought would be a good fit really isn’t. Then, instead of gutting it out for the sake of pride, convenience, or a healthy dose of penance, actually decide it wasn’t the right move after all and go in a different direction without feeling totally defeated and discouraged.
While he’s not at that point of moving yet by any means, the main reason probably has more to do with thinking about his wife, his family, and what others would say rather than any felt desire to persevere and gut it out for the sake of Greek (and the Mdiv). Oh, and the fact that he has no other idea what he would, could, or should do – that’s probably another big reason.
One thing Learner is reconsidering is the idea of doctoral work (Craw just told him tonight that there’s a glut of people with doctorate degrees out there right now anyway, so it’s not like the world needs anymore). The question he’s trying to ask now is not “should he or shouldn’t he,” but rather “does what he want to do require it or not?” He’s trying to get time with certain profs here he’s heard can help in answering that question, but he says he wishes he were more confident in what he knew God wanted of him.
It’s weird, Learner says: he had such a strong sense of rightness about making the move to seminary (and he still does not regret at all having done any of that). He wonders, however, if the path through seminary might be shorter or different than he had originally planned? Of course, there’s some pride there, particularly when he thinks of having to justify his existence to his donors as to why they should still support Learner and his family, but he’ll still send out the donor newsletter he’s been working on all week.
Ever since he was a kid, and especially since he came to Christ at the age of 14, Learner says he has always had a huge sense of destiny on his life. His hope here is that this destiny isn’t a destiny to fail.