Because life is a series of edits

Bittersweet Break

In Calling, Friends, Seminary, Vacation on March 25, 2008 at 6:56 am

Due to either brilliant planning or pathetic procrastination, my Westminster Spring Break is turning out to be more about remembering what it’s like to be a full-time student than what it’s like to be a teacher with a week off. On the docket:

  • Listen to seven 45-minute lectures, read five chapters, complete a study guide, and take the mid-term for my Ancient & Medieval Church History class
  • Write a 5-page paper for my Children’s Ministry class
  • Write two CD reviews and a 10-page paper for my Music & Theology class

I’m spending today at Covenant with two main purposes in mind:

  1. To get away and focus (the Catacombs are a bit too chilly and noisy for extended periods of time studying)
  2. To schedule some academic advising in response to Covenant’s publication of next year’s class schedule (if all goes well, I may actually be able to finish my Masters degree in Theological Studies a year from now)

I’m preparing myself this morning for somewhat of a bittersweet encounter, namely going to my first seminary chapel all year. In addition to seeing lots of familiar faces and sitting through an optional mid-week chapel whose participants are actually interested (unlike the mandatory weekly high school chapels I’m used to refereeing), my friend Ronnie is preaching.

Ronnie and I started seminary in the same Beginning Greek class almost three years ago. He (along with Rob, Tom, Mitchell, Josh, Mike, and dozens of others) are graduating this May with an actual Masters of Divinity degree after 36 solid months of ridiculous class loads and more Hebrew than I ever wanted (or was able) to endure.

While I’m happy and proud of all of them for gutting it out these past three years, I confess I’m more than a little sheepish about showing up today in my part-time, four-year, non-language, theological studies kind of way. Though none of them possess a superiority complex because of our divergent seminary paths, I (like the 14-year-old I perpetually think of myself as) am able to provide enough of an inferiority complex for all of us.

Indeed, I’m that gifted.

That said, I’m looking forward to what God will teach me today – about his unconditional love, about his sovereign plan, about the community of his people. I need to learn more about these things today, as they may be the only things that get me through this week of full-time seminary student studies with hope instead of drudgery as my companion.

  1. Dr. Williams called the MATS a “Sunday School” degree when I told him I switched from the M.Div to MATS. Oh well. I have more books to read now than I did during the M.Div.

    That said, you and I share this same inferiority complex–the life of a fourteen year old never quite ends.


  2. sunday school degree, that’s funny, don’t tell my wife that

    clearly craig i am superior to you in every way

  3. Seeing as how I”m not sure I could teach/write beyond a Sunday School level even if I wanted to, the MATS sounds right. Jake, we need to have you and yours over for dinner again so we can compare lesson plans.

    And yes, Rob, clearly you are superior in every way. Clearly.

  4. And so I guess that would make my switch from the MATS to the humble Grad Certificate the equivilent of VBS?

    Talk about inferiority complexes. I could probably take you all.

  5. although I have to say, Megan, that VBS is probably the MOST difficult level to teach/reach–I wouldn’t knock your VBS degree at all :-)

    and yes…dinner would be great.


  6. Well, although I think we will actually leave hear someday with an actual M.Div., thereby apparently bestowing upon my husband the title of Theological Super-Weight, we will have been here 6+ years gutting it out.

    After four years had gone by, Clay said his new strategy was to stay here long enough to get hired by one of his former classmates.

  7. Craig,
    My wife and I keep up with you and your wife’s blog and are greatly encouraged by it as we seem to be going through much of the same things (kids,seminary). I am currently in an MDiv program at Columbia International University and I am about to switch to an MA program that would allow me to be done quicker. How did you come about making your decision to switch from the MDiv to the MATS?

  8. Good hearing from you, Kevin. Check this post for the main motivations behind my transition and we can connect more specifically if it would be helpful.

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