I have now completed the first half of my first semester at Truett Seminary. I am taking two courses. So far, I have spent approximately 110 hours on homework (I kept track of all my time). It’s been very busy, but also very helpful and mostly enjoyable.
A few observations from my time so far:
- Taking two courses at a time is too much for me. With a full-time job, a family to care for a and spend time with (3 small boys), and an enjoyment for the occasional free time and social life, the work load is just too much. In order to complete my homework to the degree that I feel good about it, I literally have no time to do anything else. After this semester, I will not be taking more than one course at a time. I am going to try to finish this semester strong, and my wife has graciously agreed to give me ample time to do that, knowing that I won’t have to be this busy again after this semester ends in the beginning of May. Six more weeks of being crazy busy, and then we can breathe again.
- Having structured and guided study has been really helpful for me. I enjoy having other students to interact with, and professors to teach and facilitate. I find it extra motivating (obviously) to have deadlines, guidelines, and tests/quizzes.
- Spring break, unfortunately, resulted in a break from God. Six weeks of heavy study and homework started to get a bit exhausting. When spring break hit two weeks ago, I just wanted to relax a bit and experience some free time. As much as I would rather not admit, I wanted a break from the Bible. It’s not that I don’t enjoy it, I was just in it so much and it consumed so much of my time. This, to me, may be the result of being too burdened by the task aspect of it and having too much on my plate. Or it could also be a result of having made the Bible too much about academics while failing to make it personal and spiritually beneficial. I need to think about this one a bit more.
When I first started thinking about going to seminary, a friend of mine told me that I won’t find God in academics. I don’t disagree with the idea. But, I also believe that God can work anywhere he pleases. Seminary also doesn’t have to be only about academics. It can be about developing helpful relationships with professors and fellow students, correcting wrong beliefs/understandings that may have been harmful to my view of God, and much more.
Seminary has been much more helpful for my mind than it has been for my heart. That’s not to say that it has had no effect on my heart though. It has been helpful, just to a lesser degree. God and I still don’t connect all that well. He still seems mostly distant. I have a hard time seeing how much God interacted with people in the Bible, and how it seems that he interacts with me so little (or not at all). I want to believe, I want the Bible to be true, but I find that so challenging when the God of the Bible won’t seem to prove himself to me. Some days are better than others… Still, I will press on and keep trying.