Tuesday, March 20, 2012

What Do I Want Out of Seminary?

Tomorrow morning I am visiting McCormick Seminary. As of right now, it is my top choice for seminary. Lately, I've been thinking a lot about what I am looking to get out of an M.Div program. I'm not quite sure yet how all of this meshes together, but the following things are ideas that have been floating around in my head:

  • What does it mean to be Presbyterian? To be Methodist? To be Catholic? To be Lutheran? Why do people choose one denomination over another? Frederick Buechner likens it to team mentality over a difference in theology. He writes that people choose one church over another for superficial reasons. And that they don't really know what they believe. I definitely fall (somewhat) into that camp. This YAV year has been especially amazing for me because it has forced me to think about some of these things in a way I've never thought of them before. I am slowly formulating in my mind what my beliefs actually are and how they fit in with the Presbyterian Church (USA). 
  • What does an open dialogue between people from different denominations look like? An actual open dialogue- not just tolerating the other's beliefs but actually trying to understand and accept. There is a huge difference between listening to what someone is saying and actually hearing what they have to say. This year I have had cross-denominational conversations, but I am not sure if I was listened to or heard. And vice versa, I'm not sure if I was listening to or actually hearing what was said. 
  • How would that play out in worship? Especially if most of the differences in church denominations is not actually theological differences, but instead differences in styles of worship? I want to explore other ways of worship. What about a worship space that is used more than just Sunday mornings? Why can't we have a space that also allows for people to relax, have fun & enjoy being around other people?
Right now I am also reading The Screwtape Letters. I found the book when I was about 12 years old in a closet at First Pres- Granbury. When I read it back then, I had no idea what I was reading. Now that I am reading it again, it has helped me formulate some of the above. Anyway- that is just a little of what I've been trying to process over the past few weeks and put into words. 

I am really excited for my visit to McCormick tomorrow! I'll try and post something about my thoughts on the school tomorrow. 

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