I’ve been doing a lot of reminiscing around my whole seminary experience over the last week. Today I started looking at the posts that I wrote when I first started, and re-read my application essay. I realized how much different I am from the person who wrote that essay in 2011.
But, there is one belief that I wrote about in my application essay that has remained the same for me through all my work:
“All people, regardless of their beliefs, gender, orientation, or whether they are a saint or a murderer, deserve love, compassion, and understanding…In our society, we tend to think of things in black and white, good and evil, and label people in that way.”
Because of seminary, I’ve found the words to describe what this idea is: radical inclusion. I have found theology that speaks to me of inclusion and I have had mentors who have shown me how to put radical inclusion into practice.
What seems huge to me is that how I came into seminary is very different from the way I came out. I was determined to be a hospital chaplain in the beginning, but now I’m an ordained pastor and starting a church. I’m much more determined to do interfaith work and to be a bridge between traditions.
To say that I’m humbled and honored to have gone through seminary is not enough. And I know that in the next few weeks I’ll be really thinking and processing the ending of my seminary education. The last few days have been hard because, while I have things to do, there’s still a part of me that asks, “Now what?”
I also have a community of colleagues, friends, and mentors who are amazing people doing amazing work that I get to be a part of from time to time.
I have plans and ideas for things post-graduation, I know I need to leave room for Spirit to work and move. Things will always change, and Spirit and friends and love will help me on the way.
So, I hope you all will be patient with me for the next few weeks while I’m working through the change of coming back to “civilian” life, so to speak. And I thank everyone for their love and support through my whole seminary experience. Especially my Awesome Wife, who did just as much work as I did through the whole thing!
Graduation wasn’t the end, it was just the beginning!