In a little while, I am going to the local university to talk to students about “God is not a He.” As I was just thinking about this, I remember beginning seminary (my third career start, the others having become too day-to-day) and beginning to learn that God is not a he. Or a she, for that matter. But this is about seminary.
The first day, we sat at a long table, perhaps determined by our assigned advisor, and I looked around wondering what I was doing in the group of people who seemed to know about God. I was the oldest of us, but not by all that much. This was not a group of just graduated undergraduates. Rather, to my surprise, they were more mature, with years of experience behind them and a surety about this calling that younger folk might not have.
We got through the years. I was on a mission to finish in my three years and get on with this new life, so each time we met in a new class, I introduced myself as being in the first (second, third) year of my three year program even as others stated they were in third, or the fourth (fifth, sixth and more) of the same three year program. I also remember when one student said this was the degree he had planned to read all the assigned readings and here he was, finished in three years, turning his final paper and no, he had not read all the readings.
I still marvel that I am an ordained minister. That I have been in a church where I was asked to help them transition to a totally new identity; and now in my second call, I am starting a new congregation from scratch and living in a community that really did not know they wanted this new congregation.
My knowledge of scripture was limited (though better now). This happened in our first day of class: our instructor asked us to rate our knowledge of Hebrew Scripture. I remembered that I had been to church most of my life and the Old Testament was read almost every week, so I put myself at a (modest) three of five. Then she started talking and the English words flowed over my head, occasionally stopping at my brain – and I was lost. Several days later I asked her if I could change my self-evaluation from a three to a subzero. I do better at Hebrew Scripture now.
I learned to love the Older Testament and enjoy preaching from it. People tell me my sermons are different – I notice that almost no one goes to sleep during one. One of two comments my late husband (a nonbeliever) made about my going to seminary was that my sermons would never be boring. (The other? was I going to be Catholic again? No. UCC.)
This is not Tuesday, but on this rainy morning when at 7:30, I have finished the class presentation, have a sermon in mind for Sunday and have been to the gym to do daily workout, I feel ready to share.