Saturday, March 31, 2012

So you're in Seminary...

For some reason I have been having a ton of conversations lately about what I am doing with my life.  So here is a typical exchange:

Someone else: What do you do?

Me: I'm in grad school. Seminary.

Them: For what?

Me: MDiv.  Master's of Divinity.

Them: What is that?  Does that make you divine?

Me: (inward eye rolling)  I am studying theology.

Them: Why?  What do you do with that?

Me: I am studying to be a pastor.

Them: Oh.  (Awkward silence)

Sometimes followed with one of the following questions:
People go to school for that?
Why do you want to do that?
So, are you like, holier, than other people?
Women can be pastors?

I am never sure what to make of these conversations.  Sometimes they are asked out of genuine interest.  Sometimes they are asked out of a lifetime of emotional baggage around religion, and the person legitimately needs to air their grievances about the institution of Christianity.  Sometimes that other person wants to try and push their own religious agenda.

But whatever the reason, it opens up the opportunity for real conversation.  If we keep talking about the way that we can be and do Church in/for the world, we have the opportunity to be of service.  It is when we stop listening that we become stagnant.

But in the meantime, my sarcastic self wants to answer the "What do you do?" question with a snarky answer that provokes the same shocked response.  So I have thought about telling people that I am a tattoo artist or proctologist or lumberjack or exotic dancer.  (just kidding, Mom)  My actual part-time job, working at a homeless shelter, tends to also elicit a similar response.

There is not one set "look" for a pastor, and if there was, I would probably not be it.  I am kind of loud, very sarcastic, can curse like a sailor, and sometimes I'm just not very nice.  But I have seen God's incredible grace at work in my life and in the lives of others and I want to share that.  I have been a part of powerful Christian communities that serve God both inside and outside their walls, and I want to help create that same space for others.  I want to listen and laugh and cry with other people as we walk this crazy journey together.

So that's why I feel called to do this thing.

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