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Sunday, April 09, 2006

don't read this. it's not funny and it will just make you question things.

Before I went to seminary, someone tried to prepare me for the fact that not everyone there would be perfect. I was told some rather shocking anecdotes that I would have liked to blame on the old liberal days of the seminaries but he quickly reminded me that he was not that old. That may be wrong though as the seminaries have only been cleaned up recently.

Something equally shocking yet less depraved that he told me is that some students don’t go to church. Using basically the same excuses as everyone else, they add some additional ones like: I went to chapel this week or I have too many papers to write and they are about God anyway. It’s not difficult for me to imagine a student getting involved in sex, drugs, and rock n’ roll but I was rather incredulous that someone going into church work would not go to church.

I feel like I’m the only slacker still here that didn’t leave so as to arrive 30 minutes early to Sunday School. On the way out I hear music playing, people talking. When I leave for church I walk out expecting the parking lot to be empty. I tell myself that people are sick. Some people worked till six on Sunday morning. Some people have sick children. Everybody carpools. Maybe they’re just trying to save the planet. Those married people have two or three cars between them and they just take one for the family on Sunday.

It’s a rare occasion when I don’t feel worse than everyone else and I pat myself on the back and say, “Well at least I go to church. I’m finally better than someone here.” How stupid for someone like me to be prideful.

I’ve been wondering a lot lately if I should really be here. Everyone is so motivated, so intelligent, so moral, they already know all this stuff, so sure of their calling, they have a irresistible subconscious urge to do this. I’m not like them.

Everyone else likes reading books from the 1700’s. I can’t tell what the hell the author is saying. I can’t pay attention for the 6 hours it would take me to bushwack my way through 50 pages of what the professor wants us to read on top of everything else I have to read. How do you possibly write a paper on that? I really do not want to put that much effort into reading some liberal that doesn’t believe the bible is true and if I understand anything of what he says it will be some nagging question that it will take me 3 hours to find an incomplete answer to so that it isn’t sitting there in my mind, mocking my faith.

Every 3.6 days a seminary student hears, “If you can do anything else, do it.” I have a lot of problems with this but it may be true if explained properly. I don’t know. It makes it sound like it’s a ditch digging job, a toilet scrubbing job. It’s as if the ministry is a terrible job and it should be your last choice. Shouldn’t it be one’s first choice? Maybe what they mean by this is God won’t let you do anything else. Will God make you miserable and a failure at everything and you will wander aimlessly about until you answer THE CALL TO MINISTRY?

Should I ask God for a sign? Is that a sin? Is it tempting God? Should I ask for a more sure calling? Am I being faithless? Maybe I should be here if I’m not sure. Should I go try to do something else and really see if I can’t do anything else like the tired old adage says? Am I just hogging a chair in a class that some motivated foreign kid should have? Should I go preach somewhere and disrespectfully tell my creator, “This is how you are supposed to communicate with me, if I fail it means I shouldn’t do this, if I do well and people respond well, it means you want me to continue.”

“Be still and know that I am God.” Then what? Believe me, I can very easily sit around and do nothing waiting for a sign.

I look for help in the Bible but I keep thinking of, “With God, all things are possible.” I’m so tired of hearing that. (from myself) Ok so none of my problems really matter because God can make them magically go away or order events so as to accomplish what he wants anyway. I don’t think God works like that.

I guess I’ll go read Dr. Whitney’s article and Spurgeon’s Lectures to My Students for the 8th time. Dr. Whitney, you are too smart. He knew I was going to try to disqualify myself with 1Timothy 3 and Titus 1.

I’ll just keep fighting along. Maybe God will come to my aid. Better to wonder what I’m supposed to do while making progress toward what it might be. If I go do something else and a year from now I find out I was in the right place, it will have been just be a big waste. Hopefully money will fall out of the sky in the meantime to pay for school.

God I gave you my life. Do you want it? I’m not good enough for this. I just know that someday I am going to do something really stupid to disgrace your name. You can have anyone you want for this. You know stuff about me I’ve forgotten and you know there are probably a lot better choices. I feel like I don’t have what I need to do what you want.

If you want me to do this I’m going to need a lot of help.

7 Comments:

Blogger sajini said...

:(

Sun Apr 09, 07:49:00 PM PDT  
Blogger G. F. McDowell said...

You seem discouraged. (duh) I don't know what to say, other than many of the same doubts linger in my mind. I'm not yet on campus.

Mon Apr 10, 01:28:00 AM PDT  
Blogger G. F. McDowell said...

Actually, I know exactly what to say. Click Here. READ it.

Mon Apr 10, 01:32:00 AM PDT  
Blogger Laur said...

welcome to life on the altar of living sacrificeness, bro. sometimes we live in limbo so that our faith has no where but Christ to camp. take one step at a time, one day at a time, and trust that our sovereign God's plans can't be screwed up by your misunderstanding - or even your disobedience.

and you aren't going to "need a lot of help" - you are going to need the gospel to be the air you breathe and the blood pumping in your veins. but dude, God equips us to obey.

He loves you. rest in His wisdom. talk it through, but remember that there is joy to be had in this part of the journey as well. scary? for sure. all the more reason to run to the cross.

Mon Apr 10, 05:42:00 AM PDT  
Blogger John said...

As a fellow seminary student, please allow me to offer a few thoughts.

First, you are not alone! If you really think "Everyone is so motivated, so intelligent, so moral, they already know all this stuff, so sure of their calling, they have a irresistible subconscious urge to do this. I’m not like them.", then you have been seriously misled! I've met numerous students who have struggled as you have. In a matter of fact, I have been one.

Second, you need to work through your vocation and God's calling to the ministry. I remember having to do this in my own life as a seminary student! Just remember that God doesn't reveal His plans for us through subjective feelings or quiet whispers. He reveals Himself to us through the Word of God. We are to base our decisions upon his sufficient Word. To help you think through a call to ministry, I recommend reading the small booklet Called to the Ministry by Edmund Clowney. I also suggest listening to the classic five-part series by Albert Martin, "A Call To The Ministry" (in MP3 format).

Third, feel free to contact me. I am serious. If you need to talk, let me know and we'll get together.

Mon Apr 10, 12:42:00 PM PDT  
Blogger iconoclasm said...

Thanks saji, G, laur, and OZ. I want you to know that your encouragement is special to me. Thank you for the advice. There's no conviction like being refered to your own writings. I'll try to find that booklet.

One thing I have learned through this is that we are all kind of struggling with similar questions. I also found out that some people thought I had it all together. How funny. There is a great advantage in being real with eachother. Thank God for the support of our brothers and sisters in Christ. I look forward to working through this but I suspect that the significance will be gained from the journey and not the destination. I will keep you posted with posts.

Mon Apr 10, 08:17:00 PM PDT  
Blogger Daniel Black said...

Hello Iconoclasm,
I read your blog and was very moved by it. I am a non-denominational Christian and a sophomore at Marist College. I stuggled with my faith for years and discovered many of the same questions you posed in you blog. I think my co-commenters are right, these issues you describe are not uncommon, not at all. God is present; I have learned that faith is as simple or as complicated as we make it. God's love is the greatest gift we have ever received and I see it everywhere in nature. Please Email me sometime at "danjblack@gmail.com" I would love to hear from you. Steer true on your journey through life and admire the scenery along the way; remember they are gifts from Him.
~Dan

Fri Apr 14, 06:50:00 PM PDT  

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