Three weeks in. Everything seems the same, yet everything feels changed, shifted slightly to a new direction.
Every time I enter into that red brick building, I am overwhelmed with the beauty that comes from the pain I have faced in my classes, in conversations with people, and in the thin places. I have yet to be in that building this fall term without tears coming to my eyes for one reason or another, usually in recognition of beauty, of longing, of learning, of my own strength and courage.
In my first day of classes our lovely theology professor, Chelle, spoke of how learning theology was, for her, more akin to falling in love. One classmate spoke of how he didn’t necessarily want to fall in love… and then I grab the microphone. I said that falling in love with theology was all well and good, but what I really wanted was for theology to fall in love with me. I wanted Theology to buy me flowers and tell me how beautiful I am, because Theology and I have dated before and it felt like a messy, painful breakup. I need Theology to woo me, to fall in love with me before I can love Theology.
Humorous, right? People laughed, I laughed, but there was (and still is) a giant rock of truth to that tangent as well.
Chelle chuckled and said words that I will not soon forget…
“My hope is that in falling in love with theology, you will see that in the middle of it all is a God who is consistently pursuing you, wooing you, loving you.”*
I sat in my Hermeneutics class, which is a class normally taken your first term at school. I always believed that I dropped it after 2 months because I needed more time to process what I was learning in school so, therefore, I moved to a 4-year track. I’m learning that while that reason was true, I was also not in a place where Biblical studies would have been good for me. My heart was too tender to hear another man tell me what the Bible says, what I should and shouldn’t be doing, blah blah blah.
The good news is that Dwight doesn’t do that. He says that we need everyone’s voice, from every place they are, from the depths of who they are right now. If you are a woman, we need your voice. If you are a man, we need your voice. If you are an LGBTQ, we need your voice. If you are a surfer, we need your voice. If you are a writer, we need your voice. If you are a marginalized person, we need your voice. If you are a mother, father, husband, wife, daughter, son, wood carver, plumber, accountant, etc. we need your voice.
How different my life would have been had this been the stance I grew from. Dwight wept in class while he spoke of his deep belief in the ordination of women in the church, and how he’s giving up his ordination credentials for his denomination because they won’t ordain women. Here is a man who lives out his beliefs in tangible ways. Words cannot express what this does to my heart.
This term as just started, articles are freshly printed, pens and highlighters at the ready, homework playlist is made. Reading glasses are cleaned, reading groups are scheduled, and coffee is brewing.
Welcome to another life changing school term.
*not word for word, but pretty close. I should have written this sooner.