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Sunday, July 8, 2007

To Be. To Give. To See. Love.


While I do not often use my blog space for personal updates, I would like to do so today. Today I have realized that I am half way done (in terms of credits) with my graduate program…and that's just plain futs. I wrote the bulk of this blog six months ago:

Many friends and family members ask, "how's school going?". Often times I give short inadequate responses. I say, "it's crazy!" or "oh brooooother" or "I'd rather shoot myself in the calf". But as many of you know, Mars Hill Graduate School is not your run of the mill seminary. While we may still create our own language that sounds like Klingon to outsiders, remove ourselves from culture at times, and discuss things that ultimately divide rather than unite...my experience at this school has been transformational.

I will add my own words in a short minute, but I would first like to quote a fellow student of mine.

"I use to be so good at being fine. I use to smile and walk away like some untouchable unbreakable myth. Damn it this school sucks. They should warn you somehow that your eyes will be opened here and that it will sting like hell. They should warn you your heart will start feeling again. They should warn you that life can be sad, and if you really look at it all, your heart will ache for the world, for yourself, for the people around you. Then with just as much depth the people around you have the capacity to forever make you shudder and awe at their glory. They should warn you that not many will understand what your looking at and that they will make you feel crazy for noticing. They should warn you, and they did, but there is no way I could have ever imagined."

Sounds fun, eh? Through the unique educational experience here at Mars Hill I find myself blessed and cursed. I cannot sit with a friend who has lost a loved one without shedding my own tears. I can no longer ignore my responsibility in caring for the world around me. I no longer take lightly the words of encouragement from a family member. I no longer encounter others as objects to be converted, but people that need to be approached and cared for in a way that is unique and individual. I no longer see talents and positions to be used and exploited, but creative individuals that are called to live their lives in ways they have yet to experience.

That sounded like I have just turned into a big sensitive cuddly bear...but I am not saying that this place has been rainbows and butterflies on Planet Earth in HD on my 55" Sony SDX Television. I struggle with the stereotypical seminary behaviors. I struggle with fellow students who would rather argue with one another over the inerrancy of the Bible or feminist issues than serve their neighbor. I struggle with the narcissism that is often found as we wade through our stories and psychologically deconstruct our past. I struggle with the lack (that's right lack) of Biblical critique in many of our seminary courses.

So with all of that said...I love this place...and I hate this place. This school brings breathtaking highs and heart pounding lows. But perhaps that is who God calls us to be. Perhaps we are to truly mourn with those who mourn and in the same moment celebrate the beauty found in our world and in others. Perhaps God intends on this roller coaster full of risk and sacrifice in the name of others. If that is the case, I have just sat down on that coaster, pulled down the harness, and am climbing up that first hill anticipating the lifelong corkscrews, figure eights, inverted crow twists (the X baby!), and weight defying drops. While the voice of Christianity that burrowed its home in my head speaks of safety, comfort, and complacency...God calls us to a land of extremes...tears followed by laughter, justice along side grace, anger lined with compassion.

This is the life I am called to. To be. To give. To see. Love.

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