Thursday, November 15, 2007

Here we go again...

Ahhhhhh, a day off from work.
I’ve spent the morning doing laundry, cleaning out my closet, pulling out my winter clothes, and cleaning up the kitchen.
I did all of this not just because it needed to get done, but because the alternative activity I had planned for today was getting to work on my seminary entrance essay.
Our house is always at it’s most cleanest when I’m in procrastination mode.

My reluctance to get started partially stems from a ‘been there, done that’ feeling that’s hanging over my head. I did this all already. The essay, the recommendations, the financial aid applications, the endless waiting and worrying.

Now the process starts all over again.
And I’m staring at a blank page that will be my admissions essay.
When I made the decision to defer admission to the Boston school and apply to the NYC school for next year I had delusions of recycling the same essay.
After reviewing the application for the NYC school I’ve realized that I’m not getting off the hook that easy.

The Boston school asked for a “Reflection Essay” centered on questions about my faith journey, my career aspirations and the personal/social/political issue that most concerns me. Right up my right-brained alley.

The NYC school requires an “Admissions Statement” that is less interested in my spiritual journey and calling, and more interested in my academic interests and theological struggles. Which requires an unexpected detour to my lesser used (since I graduated) left-brain alley.

Where the Boston school asks the applicant to “describe the ministry to which you feel called and the gifts you see yourself bringing to that ministry,” the NYC school requires the applicant to ‘state a major theological dilemma that you wish to analyze during your studies at Seminary, and explain in detail the importance of this intellectual problem for you.”


While the Boston application seems directed towards those with aspirations towards ordained ministry, the NYC application seems stilted towards those with more academic ambitions.

And therein lies my problem.

I can go on for pages when asked to write about my faith journey and the call I feel to the ministry. Responses to those kind of questions just seem to flow out of me.
But this ‘theological dilemma’ question has me at a standstill.
While I’ve wrestled with theological issues on and off throughout my spiritual journey and as a Religious Studies major in college, I’ve never really sat down and pondered one particular theological issue at length. That’s just not where my primary interest lies. I want to help people; minister to their needs, lift them up and help them move closer to God. While addressing all of the theological questions that get stirred up simply by mentioning the word “God” is fascinating to me, it’s not THE reason why I want to go to seminary.

I’m just whining and procrastinating because writing from the heart is so much easier for me than writing from the head.

Here I sit in front of a blank page pondering whether theodicy, the divinity of Jesus, the effectiveness of petitionary prayer, or the ‘grace through faith or works’ debate is THE theological dilemma that I can’t wait to wrestle with while at seminary.
Then I’ll have to do some reading/research to come up with some wordy, intellectual sounding details to flesh out my position, such as “According to Aquinas’ Summa Theologica, God allows evil to exist so that good may come of it…”

I know once I get started the creative pull will take over and I’ll find a way to tie in both the head and the heart. But it’s the getting started that has me dragging my feet.

You know, the bathroom could use a good scrubbing… and that dishwasher isn’t going to unload itself.

Off to work I go!
La de da de da!

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