Do you remember your first experience with puppy love? You fell in love with that cute girl/boy across the classroom, playground, grocery store, etc. Immediately, in your mind at least, this woman or man became your knight in shining armor or the princess locked in some high cold peak, awaiting you to come save them. Then they were gone, maybe you spoke to them, maybe you walked up, talked to them and dated them. I’m guessing at some point you realized they were not ‘exactly’ what you had imagined. We tend to use the phrase in America that when you realize this, ‘the Honeymoon is Over’.
Welcome to your first month of Seminary. I fell in love with Dallas Theological Seminary 3 Â½ years ago when I visited campus for the first time. I heard professors telling me that it was not about me, the knowledge you get or do not get, but learning to love God and others more with every tool (like seminary) that God provides. I was hooked. Surely, I assumed, everyone who applies gets accepted here, (note the 3 ½ year span of waiting), surely all the teachers grade on a curve, give you lots of Grace and everyone agrees on each Theological point presented.
Wow, is the Honeymoon ever over. After one month of classes, especially Greek, I seem to remember how difficult Spanish was in High School. After one month of sitting next to students from every corner of the world I am beginning to see how culture affects my perspective on things. After one month of sitting under amazing men and women who open God’s word and see things I never knew were there I am beginning to understand that maybe we do not have all the answers at the beginning, middle (after seminary) or end of our lives.
Everyone finds different things in the same passage. We observe differently, we perceive differently and the Truth of God’s Word affects each of our lives individually and very differently from the person right next to me.
It is almost like God wrote this Love letter (the Bible) just to me! Please note, I am not insisting that we take the Bible out of context and see whatever we can make out of a few words. I am saying that reading Philemon and understanding a slave being freed means something much different to me, a Caucasian Midwestern than my friends from Korea, China, and South Africa who sit next to me and internalize those truths in a different way.
It is a wonderful thing to be part of a multi-cultural community that is seeking the same goal of being accurate to God’s Word, Loving Jesus Christ and pursuing Him with their lives. I am discovering things I would not have known sitting at my desk at home with a Bible, concordance and some commentaries.
As much joy as I am getting from the classes, professors, students and projects, the honeymoon is over. I have roughly 400 pages of reading each week, Greek to study every day, large projects due each week, month, and a big one due at the end of the semester. At this writing a month has slipped right past me as a breeze through an open door and I am realizing the chill. A month is gone. That big project is due in two more. My Seminary career will be done in a brief moment of time.
Congratulations to all who make it past the honeymoon. Things are not easy here. Since coming to Seminary I have heard more stories of personal, financial and emotional tragedy than I have anywhere else in life. The story of ‘my car broke down at the state line’ is common. The story of ‘I could not pay rent, then a check showed up,’ is heard often. It is amazing to see how God provides.
As with puppy love, sometimes things do not develop how we thought they would. On a very sad note, my classes are much smaller than they were five weeks ago. Many have decided that either Greek or seminary all together was not for them. God leads us all down different paths in lives and I know that he can use each of us in His way and time. Seminary is not for everyone. But to those who made it through the first month, the first five weeks, the first semester, congratulations. Whether you are still dating, or in a committed marriage relationship to this thing called Seminary. Stay the course. God Provides and we will make it through this with His help.