I didn’t consider joining seminary until I was already an undergrad student at SPU. I had transferred to SPU after a few years at Colorado University, and my original plan was to become a Washington resident and study chemistry at the University of Washington. But God had other plans for me. I found a nondenominational church and began to ask questions, trying to catch up on everything I missed by not paying attention at church while growing up in Colorado. The pastor introduced me to a member of the church, who happened to also be a professor at SPU. I was introduced to SPU’s Theology program, and graduated in 2010 with a bachelor’s degree in Theology, a field I had never even heard of prior to moving to Seattle.
My time at SPU helped my faith grow and helped me become ready for Seminary. When I first entered SPU’s School of Theology in 2008, I had only been a Christian for about two years. I was still compartmentalizing my life — God, faith, and theology were kept separate from everything else. Over time, though, God overtook my brain and filtered into the rest of my life. This infiltration was immensely important. Now Christ is infused in much more of my being (and I hope more and more every day), and I can’t help but think and write theologically. Woe to me if I don’t.
So far, my experience has been challenging in ways I think the designers of the program anticipated. Seminary pushes in on you, pokes through your little veneers of self-protection and ruptures what you thought you knew about yourself, God, and others. This is intentional, I think. But at SPU, we have a support structure – class meetings, mentors, assignments that constantly ask you to reflect – for when the (beneficial) prodding feels a bit much.
I love to question and wrestle, debate and poke at, even as I don’t always enjoy being poked at myself. These things are good. They are the indispensable pins and ties of higher theological education. I’m also learning that if you take everything with a grain of salt, you end up really thirsty. “Theology,” as one of my professors recently quoted, “is knowing when to play the mystery card.” This is turning out to be a large part of the reason I enrolled in Seminary as well.