Hopefully at the end of this week I will begin working on goingtoseminary.com v2.0’s launch. As I’ve mentioned previously, with v2.0 I’m looking to expand the writing staff. If you are a seminarian and would like to write for goingtoseminary.com, then please use the contact form to get in touch with me. I’ll be making my final decision this week, so hurry up.
Hey gang, I just finished my last test today and thus my first semester has come to an end. We’re off to visit granny and family for the weekend, so we’ll catch up when I return. Hope everyone’s semesters ended well. Anyone got a good story to share?
Currently I am signed up for 2 summer classes. I thought about doing more, but I realized that I would ultimately be cheating myself if I tried to cram an entire semester into the summer. I’ve found that I retain a LOT less information when it is crammed into a 1 week intensive. So, for the sake of my training and education I have elected to only take two classes. On top of that, I decided to NOT take the classes that I knew I needed to devote more attention to than just one week. Cramming the Pauline Epistles into 1 week just seemed, to me, to not be adequate for my proper wrestling with the content…
So, what about you? Summer classes – the good, the bad, the ugly?
The Semester is Over! Now what?
I don’t know about you, but it seems like I spend each semester thinking about how I need to get ahead in my classes so I do not have work piled on at the end of the semester. And every semester I find myself piled with work at the end. My wife once said that semesters just end whether you are ready or not. Well, now that the semester is over, what are you going to do with yourself?
What can you do with your down time; that is, if you have any down time. I know more than a few people who are taking summer classes. I am not one of them. I need the time to let my brain relax and finally digest all that I learned over the school year. If you are one of those taking summer courses, my hat is off to you.
For those who are not taking summer courses, allow me to offer up some ideas to use your time wisely:
Honor Your Family’s Sacrifice
First, if you are married, take your spouse out for a date night—/he has earned it! Your spouse has probably done much more than you realize in allowing you to focus on your schoolwork. If you have children, take them out for a day at the park or the zoo. Your kids miss you even if you spend a lot of time with them throughout the semester. Spending quality time with your family ought to be priority—how much more when you actually have the time to spend?
Meditate on God’s Word
Second, read your Bible. If there is anything more important than spending quality time with your family, it is spending quality time with your God. He saved your soul and He commissioned you to preach the Word. For many seminary students, Bible reading goes out the window once the semester workload gets heavy. It takes about an hour a day to read through the whole Bible in two-three months. You could easily read the Bible during the summer.
Fellowship With Your Redeemer
Third, take a day where you actually get away by yourself and get with God. Leave your cell phone and MP3 player at home or in the car and go sit in the woods for an afternoon for a time of silence and solitude with God. Allow the eternal spring of life to recharge your spirit. We can all testify to how rough each semester is, why not refresh your soul with God?
Enjoy Your Mind
Fourth, read that book you have wanted to read since last summer. Not everything needs to be deep theology or related to your field of study (for you music majors). Personally, I plan to read a couple biographies this summer in a kind of devotional format. Drink in the lives of those who have gone before you. They will teach you so much more than you can imagine.
Nap to the Glory of God
Finally, take some time off to do absolutely nothing. Obviously you are going to be doing something, but there is nothing stopping you from taking a nap to the glory of God! Spend a day your pajamas if you are able or just read all day. I have found it liberating to get rid of my watch for a day (I am a slave to that thing!) and not be governed by time.
Now, I realize most of us will be working at jobs or ministries or going on missions trips, but that does not mean you can’t do one or all of these things I have listed. You create your own list. The bottom line is do not waste your “time off” by doing nothing the whole time. Be sure to fill it with what I like to call “quality down time.” Keep everything in perspective and make sure your priorities are right and enjoy your summer break from seminary—if you have one. God bless.
Talk about being a slacker… One measly post this week and it was merely a job ad. Hopefully I can get my act together this week, but I guess only time will tell if I can do that… Until then, since I was a slacker this week, I’ll try to make up for it in one post.
Two Cent Tuesday – Saturday Edition
Saturday is always strange for me because I never know what to expect. On any given Saturday I am as likely to have a project for work, as I am to have school work to do, as I am to have a list of honey-do’s around the house. While I always have something on my plate, I do typically try to spend at least half the day with my wife and kids. I also attempt to get a 30 minute nap in there somewhere. In the end, Saturday is like a half day off for me. Mix that with, typically, a whole day off on Sunday and I am usually ready to go come Monday. So, what’s your Saturday like?
Thrifty Thursday – Saturday Savings
Well, tomorrow is Mother’s Day and my mom happens to be in town tonight. So, in true best-mom-in-the-world fashion, she has offered to watch the kids and give Just a Gal and I a date night. As I was looking online to decide where we should go for dinner, I was reminded of a really great date resource: Restaurant.com
Restaurant.com is a great site that offers you some instant savings on dinner. The gist of the site is that you can buy a gift certificate to a restaurant at a very discounted price. Typically you can get a $10 gift certificate for $3 or a $25 gift certificate for $10. Now, you can only use one per visit, but that is a pretty nice little savings on dinner. Also, if you sign up for an account, they typically send out discount codes towards the end of the month and you can get an even greater discount. Major score on those nights.
One final note… when you buy your gift certifiate and print it out, don’t forget to take it with you! Sad to say I’ve done that more than one! Sheesh.
A link for all you would-be-Ph.D’s
Here is a great post by Sean Michale Lucas on Ministrial Students, Calling, and PhD Studies. It is incredibly insightful and is worth reading for all seminarians. Along with the original post, there is a LENGTHY comment section that I suspect will only get longer once you visit the post. Enjoy.
The semester is winding down and summer “break” is approaching. On my to-do list this summer is launch goingtoseminary.com version 2.0. One aspect of version 2.0 I am really looking forward to is the addition of more writers. As the comment sections will show, I am not the end-all of seminary information. There are many seminary students out there who have a wealth of experience and insight that would be tremendously valuable.
So, with that in mind I am now accepting applications for anyone who would like to join the goingtosemianry.com team. At this time the job is unpaid. Writing experience, link love, and the warm fuzzy feeling of helping people out is all I really have to offer. Should the Lord provide some sponsors for the site then I fully intend to share the love with the contributors… but, right now, I can’t promise anything. That said, here are the details:
Job Opening: Writer
Qualification: Current Seminarian, strong writing skills
Details: The position requires you to regularly provide articles relating to all aspects of seminary life.
How to Apply: Use the goingtosemianry.com contact form to let me know you are interested. Provide your name, seminary, and a link to your blog if you have one. In particular, if you’ve written any posts online that you would consider goingtoseminary.com material, please send me a link to that as well. For those who do not have an example piece posted online, I will need you to send me an example article of something you would write for goingtoseminary.com.
If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask. I am truly looking forward to this next step in the life of this humble little blog…
OH, and part of the v2.0 launch will be the reveal of who Just a Guy really is… that’s right, for both of you who haven’t figured it out, I will finally reveal my true identity… I know! You can just about cut the anticipation with a knife!
I realized that it has been a while since I’ve written a post for all you out there who are considering seminary. Since the summer is approaching and there are a number of you applying and making final decisions about the fall, I thought I’d throw out an idea I was thinking about the other day… namely, interviewing current students.
Thanks to the wonders of the internet, it is actually quite easy to hunt down seminary students online (hmmm…. that sounded shadier than I intended). Anyway, my point is that if you are considering a seminary, it is highly likely that you can find a student (or students) who attend the seminary and have a blog. Simply google: “I attend Seminary Name” or Seminary name blog student and see what you get. Odds are, the search will get you on the right path.
Once you’ve found a seminary blogger, find their contact info and shoot them an email. Explain that you are considering attending their seminary and wanted a students insight. Most bloggers are are MORE than happy to give you their opinion. It is kind of the whole concept behind blogging…
Now, in giving this idea I feel it is also important to also say that you should take any replies you get with a grain of salt. At the end of the day, you don’t really know the person you contacted… they could have just bombed a test and, at that moment, have very unhappy thoughts about their seminary. So, keep that in mind. But, none the less, this is another way for you to navigate the tricky and sometimes overwhelming waters of selecting a seminary.
(If you give this a try, report back to us and let us know if it was helpful!)
Wow, with the announcement of our Seminary Meme winner I almost forgot it was Thursday…
This item is something I stumbled across several months back (when uninsured) and we thought Just a Gal might be pregnant. While I knew, if that was the case, that God would take care of us, I couldn’t help jumping on Google to try and find out how to afford a pregnancy without insurance.
That is when I found the MaternityCard. The gist of the card is that, while not insurance, you get insurance prices at the doctor. See, crazy as it sounds, insurance companies get to pay less for the same services that out-of-pocket people pay. Therefore, if you don’t have insurance you not only have to pay yourself, but it is more expensive… The maternity card seems to be a good solution. Basically, you still have to pay for everything, but having this card allows you to get discount (insurance) prices on your service (check out the savings potential).
Now, most seminaries require you to have insurance, so this might not be an issue for you (actually, all seminaries require insurance) but, none the less, this is a thrifty site to remember for the future, should you or anyone you know need it.
Congrats go out to Chuck (aka, Chuckles, Chucklebunny, Chork, Chubbs, Charlie Bucket, Bucket, Bucket-Boy) who was the winner of our April Seminary Meme Competition. For answering 6 simple questions, tagging 5 other people, and being the name Just a Gal drew out of my Windies hat, Chuck gets to go on a $100 spending frenzy at Eisenbrauns.
For the inquiring minds in the group… here are Chuck’s answers (oh, and if you wanted to know, he attends Asbury Seminary):
What class do you think has most impacted your spiritual life?
Wow…so far, probably OT720 Biblical Archaeology. Getting to dive into the physical remains of the Old Testament world has been amazing for helping me digest the biblical text.
What seminary professor has been the most influential while in seminary?
Gah…I think this is really a tie between Dr. Richter and Dr. Dongell, though I’m tempted to lean toward Dongell.
What is the greatest challenge you’ve faced in seminary?
Adjusting to being back in school full-time while my wife works full-time to support us. There have definitely been moments of tension there.
What has been the greatest reward you’ve experienced in seminary?
Primarily, being connected with an amazing local congregation in which to worship. This has been a huge time of refreshment and spiritual renewal for me.
What are your plans after seminary?
I’m hoping to go on to PhD studies somewhere (right now looking at Notre Dame) for Early Church studies/Patristics.
How many times have you been asked question #6?
5,636,220,184 times. Exactly.
Again, congrats to Chuck and, of course, MANY thanks to our generous sponsor Eisenbrauns!
Towards the beginning of the semester a professor gave out an article written by Mike Yaconelli titled, “Getting fired for the Glory of God.” As one who has worked in a local church for over 9 years, I found his article challenging in some points and reaffirming in others. Regardless of if you agree with Mike or not, the article should make you think.
As I approach the end of the semester I’ve given much thought to my experience in various classes and have decided to modify Mike’s article for the seminarian. So, without further ado:
Failing Seminary for the Glory of God
After spending time in seminary, there is no doubt in my mind that the institution can not fully prepare a man or woman for the calling to vocational ministry.
I’m beginning to believe that if those who are in seminary follow the lead of the One who called them, bad grades are highly possible.
Why? Because, in general, seminary is incomplete. The seminary has become a place of information and not transformation. The focus has been shifted from who you are to what you know. Spiritual formation has changed from a life lived before the cross to a 2 hour class on Thursdays. Prayer is not the air we breath but a formality to start a lecture.
You disagree? Why don’t you try these seven suggestions, and see how long you keep straight A’s.
Transformation, not information
Focus your energy on not merely getting information, but rather focus on how that information transforms you more into the image of Christ. Whether Greek, hermeneutics, Old Testament, New Testament, history, homiletics… above seeking facts, seek in that class to be transformed more into the image of Jesus.
Give the wrong answer
Don’t simply give the answer you know your professor wants to hear. Humbly give your answers out of your conviction… even on a test.
Read the important stuff
Read your bible as much as, if not more than, you read books about the bible.
Don’t just sit in class listening to things about God. As his splendor, glory, and goodness is revealed to you, respond to him in prayer… right then and there. Repent, give thanks, worship, praise, petition… Do not forget the King you are hearing about in class is right there in your midst. Again, do this in all your classes; from history to homiletics to Hebrew to hermeneutics.
Put your family first
Don’t let your reading list, papers, and exams rob you from your family. Say yes to your family first.
Ignore your GPA
Evaluate your seminary success by love for God, passion for the gospel, and heart for your neighbor… not numbers and letters on a piece of paper.
Love the Church
Live out your seminary experience in a local church. Find a pastor who will invest in your life and mentor you in ministry. Then, in turn, invest yourself into the lives of the church and community.
Note: I love seminary and I love my seminary. However, I am willing to do poorly in my classes in order that I might excel in the things listed above. These two things are not mutually exclusive, but I’d argue that focusing on the above will very likely result in lower grades (maybe not failing, but would you be willing to fail in order to do the above?)