Because life is a series of edits

Evening Story Time

In Thought on July 6, 2006 at 10:34 pm

It’s been a very strange week for Learner; “interesting” and “confusing” are probably even more apt adjectives. I’m not at liberty to go into too much detail, but the one thing I can share is that Learner is probably going to have to switch to auditing Hebrew the rest of the summer and take it again in the fall. After flunking the first exam and three additional quizzes, his grades are simply too low and his understanding/regurgitation of what he’s learning too minimal to be able to legitimately continue.

Thankfully, he doesn’t seem all that angry or frustrated by any of this, but he does say he is perplexed. As he told me this evening: “More than ever, all I want to do is ministry, and yet all that is keeping me from doing that are ministry’s hoops.” (Getting this M.Div. degree, you’ll recall, is the reason he’s here, and yet it is also why he can’t do anything else – at least within the context of Christian education and church ministry, the areas to which he feels called).

He wonders what would have happened had he gotten his degree ten years earlier, but I reminded him of all the tremendous practical experience he accumulated during those years. I feel for him as his situation seems such a Catch-22 right now – he wants nothing more than to do the work of the Lord as a vocation, and yet the one thing that keeps getting in his way of pastoring, teaching, writing, etc. is all his preparation and training to be able to do so.

Learner says it’s not so hard to see why so many these days skip this formal stage of preparation and either start their own church (and often in doing so, their own “denominations”), but he still belives such training is needed in his own life and ministry. He’s trying hard to swallow his pride and follow God on this new and different path toward the goal, trusting that all will eventually fit together. He says he believes it will (“Really,” he says), but it’s hard to know how exactly or easily this will happen at this point and place in time.

As I was leaving, I mentioned to Learner that ten years from now this would all make for a fun story. Though I was expecting some kind of snide remark, somewhat un-Learner-like, he agreed, clarifying that he hoped it would be more of God’s story than his own…and that, indeed, he hoped it would be a good one in the end.

Seemed a good bit of “shalom” (that’s Hebrew for “peace”) to me, but if you pray, do keep him in mind this weekend. He’s discouraged.

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