Monday, May 16, 2011

New Directions That Are REALLY Old Directions

I am going to Seminary.

No, not right now. They don't really have very many of those in China. I mean, I will in the future be going to seminary.

This may seem like old news to those who know me. Haven't I always said that going to seminary was something I saw myself doing at some point?

Yes. I did.

But ever since God shattered my life plan and I figured out that listening to God's leading on my life was, like, "important"-- I have held off from making any definite future plans. Its ok to have back up plans, things that are loosely held as fall backs unless God leads you differently. But real substantial actual Plans where You tell God Your Plan? I have learned to avoid those.

So though seminary was first a part of my self made Plan, and then later loosely held as a "back up plan", I now hold it as a God given leading. I don't just plan to go to seminary anymore. I feel led there. And probably for the first time in my life could I approach seminary correctly.

I used to want to go to seminary as a simple stepping stone to more education and a consequent job. I kind of don't care about that anymore. That is, really, not a good reason to devote several more years of my life to study. Neither should I go because it is comfortable. If I am honest, I wanted to go to seminary after undergrad because in the last analysis--it would be easy. Sure the work and study and stress are hard, but the general environment of higher Christian education? Completely, 100%, absolutely comfortable. I liked that. But it is also not a good reason.

What is a good reason? Questions.

For several months now I have been feeling a burgeoning sense of intellectual discomfort with my faith. I don't understand broadly or deeply enough. I have come to realize I probably never will. But in order to live a life of semper reformanda, a life of constant reformation, I must always be reforming and deepening my understanding of my faith. To live a life of constant sanctification is to live a life of constant questioning: questioning your motives, questioning your praxis, questioning if you are truly reflecting Christ, and questioning how it all fits together.

Seminary is a place of Questioners. And it is a place that teaches you, maybe not all the right answers, but how you might live a life of constant questioning, answering, and reform.

I don't know when my time in seminary will come yet. But I now know that, yes, God would have me go there.

~J.L. Smith

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