Monday, April 26, 2010


Sometimes, seminary feels a whole lot like war... a war with words (written, spoken, private and sometimes achingly public) instead of weapons.

Late nights, frayed emotions, thousands of pages of reading, mountains of written work and trasnlations, social networking...

A sometimes too-small community, public ministry and full-time enrollment, every detail of life scrutinized by committees and professors who rarely take the time to know "candidates" personally...

A church laden with labels of conservative, liberal...heretic...

By the time we get through the barrage of assaults that compile the end of the semester, seminarians wander around with glazed eyes, incapable of effectively communicating with one another let alone non-students; still sore from the wounds inflicted, bracing for what is inevitably around the corner...and there's always something around the corner

I have to wonder how we can move from this realm into healthy public ministry. I have to wonder why it seems like a strange phenomenon that so many people in ministry struggle with mental illness. Mostly, I guess, I wonder if seminaries don't take care of their students, how do the leaders of the church learn to be cared for?

Who holds this realm of God's people? Who reminds them how to love and be loved? Can a war-torn, weary survivor really be a healthy leader?

Disclaimer: There are many places for students to turn for help. I am neither desperate nor in an unhealthy place, BUT I do see a ton of ache which is exacerbated with the pace required of students. I also feel like I am currently without pastor, opening up a new awareness of the desperate need for seminary students to have a "neutral" spiritual leader-- one who is not connected to grades, evaluations or candidacy.

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