Saturday, September 15, 2012

First Impressions: Seminary

Sometimes I still can't believe that I'm in seminary. These past few weeks haven't felt real. I don't really know how to describe it. I've never been in classes before that opened with prayer and the professors actually wanted to hear our opinions & thoughts. When I was in undergrad at Trinity, I felt like the professors just asked us questions to make sure that we had done the readings. Granted- when the subject one studies is accounting, there really isn't much room for interpretation and opinion. That's how companies end up with fraudulent accounting and suspect business practices.

I am currently enrolled in 4 classes: Pilgrimage in Faithfulness (PIF), Intro to Biblical Studies, History Survey 1 and Sexual & Domestic Violence. PIF is a course that all entering first-year seminarians are required to take. We are going to discuss subjects like baptism, communion, etc. From my understanding, the course is designed to not only orient us with the other opinions and viewpoints that our classmates bring, but to also make us evaluate what we ourselves believe. Intro to Biblical Studies is just that...and introductory course to studying the Bible from an academic lens. This is not the most exciting of courses, but I know that it is going to be invaluable for me since I only took 2 "religion" courses in college: Old Testament and World Religions. Neither of which taught me how to write an exegetical paper (a critical study and evaluation of biblical text). History Survey 1 is the first of 2 required Christian history classes that I need to take. So far it has been fun to learn about the early Christians!

Sexual & Domestic Violence (SDV) is my "fun" course for the semester. I think the best advice I received from my advisor & other McCormick students was to register for a course that I actually wanted to take vs a course that is required. Instead of Greek, I chose to register for SDV. For those of you who don't know, I took a course on international human trafficking when I studied abroad in Copenhagen. Although the class material was upsetting and disturbing, the information I learned is invaluable. These things (human trafficking & sexual and domestic violence) happen and extremely prevalent in our society. When they are not discussed, the issues do not go away. Instead we are just ignorant to them and people around us get hurt. I know I have more to say on this topic, but that is a different post for another day. For now, I'll just say this: sexual and domestic violence happens to people across political lines, sexual orientation, ethnicity, economic status, religious beliefs, and education. The victims of domestic violence should never be blamed. Men are not the dominant partner in the typical heterosexual marriage and clergy should never tell someone to put their marriage before their own personal safety or the well being of a child.

On a more positive note, I love living in Hyde Park. I actually feel at home here. Lately I came to the realization that if I do not feel at home somewhere, it is hard for me to adjust and enjoy new experiences. That was one of my biggest roadblocks to overcome while at Trinity. I lived in San Antonio for 4 years, but I never grew to think of it as home. Likewise, even though I lived in my YAV house for an entire year, it was never a place that I felt comfortable, relaxed and safe. Unfortunately, these times in my life were also times of immense personal growth. It was an emotional and spiritual struggle that was only increased by my feeling of displacement. I am so thankful that McCormick is an open, welcoming, and affirming community. I have already made some great friends and I am looking forward to the next 3 years with a positive & optimistic outlook. I am excited to learn and discern God's call alongside these amazing people! 

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