I think I can say this completely honestly. I have never been a huge fan of school.
That is not to say that I did not benefit enormously from my K-12 grade school. Nor is it to say that I somehow wasted my time and my life in my undergraduate program. In fact, I have been extremely fortunate that the degrees that I have sought, I have attained, and in doing so have also been able to put the areas of concentration to use.
At Presbyterian College I received a Bachelor of Arts, with a major in Vocal Performance and a minor in Computer Science. Today I sing, lead and direct choirs, have taught private voice lessons, and so on. I have been able to offer technical and computer experience to my various employers and parishioners.
At Reformed Theological Seminar (Orlando) I received my Master of Divinity. This degree was required of my denomination (the Presbyterian Church in America) as pre-requisite to any pursuit of ecclesiastical office and ordination. In addition to providing me with a vast framework of knowledge and resources, it further honed my theological position.
But something happened to me whilst in the midst of my masters degree. From a gastric standpoint, you might say I “hit the wall.” The degree program was a bit like eating cod-liver oil. You knew it was good for you (?) but you really didn’t like the process of eating it.
People asked me if I would ever consider going back to school. I said, emphatically, no.
People asked me if I would ever consider getting my doctorate. I laughed. And said, again, no.
Some of those people are readers of this blog. Some of those people remember those conversations. And so some have asked me, quite seriously, if everything is ok or if I have lost my mind.
Why? Why now? My wife and I just had a baby, for goodness sake! Who has the time for this?
In God’s providence, a variety of circumstances have changed. My heart towards school has changed. My heart towards learning has changed. I found, for instance, that in my daily vocational life that reading is one of the vital ways I stay sharp, stay in conversation with authors and theologians both living and dead, and challenge myself to think. My sense of calling and the development of my “voice” (that is to say, my unique contribution that I might make to the church local and the church global) has become, at least, a bit more clear.
So what is the program that I have entered into? What am I going to be doing? Stay tuned, those answers come tomorrow.