I’ve graduated — now what?
Last month, I finished my studies, and received feedback on my work — it was acceptable. I am now a Master of Divinity. My internship has ended, and I have been interviewing and preaching ‘trial sermons’. Most of the interview process is waiting and wondering if I will be called again. Some of it is preaching at a church where everybody knows who they are hiring, they are just looking to fill the pulpit until the candidate moves in.
Tomorrow I will interview for a job that I will almost certainly start soon. Unfortunately, this job is unskilled labor, and not in my field. Even more unfortunately, there will be no benefits, and I can expect to be laid off in January when everything slows down. Then again, this is exactly what I need because the pastoral interview process can take months — bills come even during this process. Without some income, I would not even be able to afford going to interviews.
I recently started reading juvenile books. One of the effects of Seminary was I eventually stopped reading for fun. Not only that, but as my rare blog posts have shown, it has become difficult to write for fun. My brain desperately needed a vacation. For three years, I only read books that are intended for people with, or receiving graduate level education. Many of these are wonderful books that I recommend — some I will even read again, however I need to rediscover why reading and writing is fun.
I also need to remember that for some reason, normal people don’t use words the same way as people who live in the ivory tower. Words such as Cult and Myth are very different in popular and academic usage. Words such as economy have meanings that are unique to the church. I must remember to speak to people outside of the classroom, and to write for people who are not to my professor.
I must remember that most people don’t realize that historically Christianity has produced several theories of atonement, all produced through honest Biblical study, most were taught a single theory, and believe that that theory is lined out in scripture — or, were not even completely taught one theory.
Even with the cultural-linguistic differences, I need to remember that all that learned in my theological education is history and argument. I am like a child struggling to learn to sound out words, trying to read an adult book filled with words I do not understand without knowing about a dictionary. I guess and hope I get it right. I need to remember what Augustine taught me, that what I understand is not God, because an infinite God is beyond our finite understanding.
Fortunately, having some literacy I can spend much time at the Great Library. Not only that, but I can remember that I am surrounded by siblings, so I can learn from the other children who also love our heavenly Father. In the end — its not important who knows the most, what is important is love. If I can learn to live and speak in love and not pride, perhaps these few years of reading can help people other than myself.
So, now what? Work, pay the bills, and try to live love and do good in the world.