Friday, January 12, 2007

From the Scriptorium

The storm that hit the Seattle area the day before yesterday - dumping inches of snow (hear my sarcasm?) - has arrived here in the form of freezing rain and snow flurries. Class is canceled, saving me from chiseling from the block of ice the other half of the car (half-way through I decided to call to see if class was still on). So I am stuck - no big deal... the power is on, so it's better than December in West Seattle, and I have the opportunity to finish some term papers. (Thankfully, another house guest of the Boltons has graciously assented to proofing my paper, which without Christie here to do for me frightened me for the results.)

The first week of Seminary passes much like it did last year. It is a lot of work, and it seems my brain is already softening under the weight of so many facts and historical figures, but honestly, I am loving it here. Something about being at the Temple, at Seminary, in graduate studies, and with my professors and classmates just thrills me. Contrary to being a drain, I am energized by being here. In fact, I wish I was taking the Mission class, too (though I know that would have been too much work).

What is it about graduate study, or theology, or being a minister that excites me so? Is it weird? Is this how Luther felt? How Chrysostom felt? How Augustine felt? Did they get giddy at the prospect of reading a new book, or composing a contrarian opinion or attending a class? Did they look forward to putting out theories, even being shown to be wrong? Did they hold their books close, like little friends or allies against the darkness? Did they listen to lectures with two minds: one the historian, one the faithful adherent asking "what does this mean for me" and "where do I lay myself alongside this?" How many voices did they hear in their heads?

It is almost enough to make me believe in reincarnation - that I was in several previous lives some scholarly monk poring over parchment and scribbling my notes dreaming of writing my own treatise, over and over again, never tiring of it. (I may have tired of the disease, drafty monasteries, and lack of dental hygiene, however.) I wonder if they'd let me wear a robe and hood to class?

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  • You should have seen how giddy I was on the first day of the intensive course I took these first two weeks of January (btw - if you ever need some variety and want to see if you can do some of your credits elsewhere, VST has both January and Summer intensives you might be able to take and transfer over, just a thought) I was like a little kid on the last day of school!

    For me, it's the excitement of doing something with my 'whole self' for lack of a better term. Seminary isn't just about filling your head with stuff and it's not just a professional training, it's formation, in it you offer all of you, often the most tender bits, over to those you trust to form you. It makes for a highly charged, possibility-filled, energetic time.

    By Blogger Shannon, at 9:40 PM  

  • Christian,

    You ask "What is it about graduate study, or theology, or being a minister that excites me so? Is it weird? Is this how Luther felt? How Chrysostom felt? How Augustine felt?" The answer? No, it's not weird, it's what makes us who we are. It's great, a gift, to find that thing that excites us day in and day out. For you, theology. For me, it's writing. I get a fuzzy warmth every time I look at a blank piece of paper, pen in my hand, or look at an empty computer screen the cursor blinking for me to begin. And begin I do and that's the amazing thing, this quest to write, to learn about people, places, things, to discover not only the world around us, but the world within us, too. I'm sure you feel the same way about your studies and it's this feeling that propels us.

    By Blogger Jonathan S., at 12:52 PM  

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