Why Seminary? is a good question. One I’ve been asking myself a lot. I’m not sure I’m really interested in becoming a minister. For one thing, I’m not sure I have the right gifts for it. But, I’m not ready to completely close that door either. If not a minister, though, then what? Spirituality is definitely a primary interest of mine. One that I want to continue to explore more deeply. Which I guess is ultimately why I’m here… taking one tentative step in this direction to see if it is the right direction.
As far as my spiritual journey… I grew up in small northern Michigan town attending a somewhat conservative church that was part of the Church of God. I attended church there until I was 18. In late high school I started to have questions about what I was taught and the church wasn’t able to give me adequate answers. So, when I went away to college I dropped out of church, not seeing it as all that relevant. However, two big things I took away from my childhood church experience: church as a loving extended family and the idea of your relationship with God being between you and God (There was no church membership, per se. If you said you were a Christian and you attended regularly, you were considered a member of the church.)
Over the next 12 or 13 years I still had an interest in spirituality, mainly reading about other paths such as Taoism. It was around 31 when I was finally coming out as a gay man that I finally found myself back in church but primarily to meet other gay people in a safe environment and not as part of any kind of spiritual quest. The church was Phoenix Community Church and although I did meet a lot of wonderful people and found meaningful friendships, I also was somewhat surprised to find a home that rekindled my hunger for spiritual growth.
Fast forward another 7 years or so to late 2004… at the same time I was experiencing some career changes, I also found an interest in the “spiritual side” of the church as opposed to the “business side”. Subsequent experiences in helping plan and lead worship made me realize that I liked doing that sort of thing and that I had some talents for that. About the same time, I was also investigating Shamanic spiritual practices such as journeying, which reinforced the value of getting out of our heads and into our “hearts” when connecting with God. All of these experiences plus people in my church asking “did you ever consider going to seminary?” got me thinking about that very thing. And so here I am, another 3 years later about to embark on that journey. It feels like I’m taking a lot of risks, moving outside my comfort zone as well as taking financial risks but the turmoil of my last few years (unsteady employment, a failed relationship, friends and mentors moving away – to name just a couple things) has helped prepare me to deal with change and risk (I sure hope so anyway!).
Well, I guess that’s my spiritual journey in a nutshell… 🙂