What does a seminarian look like?
Every now and then, I go to seminary dressed like an undergraduate. I rock the sweats, the hoodie, and slippers. Not flip-flops, slippers. It’s because I’m gross and lazy and I want to extract myself from my work clothes as soon as possible. “What does a seminarian look like?” I think I prepared this question for any who would judge and condemn, but I’ve been met with love and acceptance instead. So that’s that.This post isn’t actually about clothes.
This semester, I’m taking my first big class. Reading the Old Testament with Dr. Cleotha Robertson takes place in a room that is full and warm (figuratively and literally). There, I have come to enjoy the fact that there is a truly diverse population at ATS. We are young and old, rich and poor, long-time pastors, doe-eyed kids. We are from every tribe and nation, from Barbados to Brooklyn.
Some of these folks are born theologians. You know them because they shift in their seats and chomp at the bit with every hot-button topic. Speaking in tongues? Chomp. Women in Ministry? Chomp Chomp. The Documentary Theory? CHOMP CHOMP CHOMP.
Some will be the pastors and counselors. They’re the ones who look tired, and sit with their friends, and are the last ones to come back from the class breaks. Some are the teachers, they ask their own questions in such a way that they can answer someone else’s question.I thank God for these gifted people and every other kind represented in our classrooms.
So, what does a seminarian look like?
Well, we look a lot like non-seminarians.
To be honest, half of the people here don’t need to be. A lot of us are going to come out with the same lens that we use to view the bible before we came. A lot are going to preach on the same things and teach in the same ways, but our presence here tells me that we know something that everyone should know. We are ALL called upon by God to do great things.
I think that’s the key. All Christians may believe that God has a unique and specific calling for our lives, but the people that fill the rooms of 2 Washington, and 1 South, are certain of this to the point of paying $550 U.S. Dollars a credit for the privilege to learn how to do it well.
My hope for my own church folk is that we would come to live and breathe with that same conviction my classmates enjoy. I hope we would realize that the variety of different giftings and talents represented on the 18th floor of 2 Washington is just a reflection of the ones that exist in 40-31 165th. The gifts in our pulpits are in our pews too.