I recently received word that I have been accepted as a Masters of Arts student at Ashland Theological Seminary. It is indeed exciting news for me! While it will likely be at least six months before I begin my first class, I cannot help but begin to prepare logistically and academically. There is Greek grammar to relearn and scholarship information to dig into, but even amidst the preparations, I feel good about the road ahead. The program that I have chosen at Ashland is called Historical, Theological, Biblical Studies and in some ways it will build off of the History degree that I received from Kent State.
As I have prayed and contemplated this decision (that is, to attend seminary), I have been fraught with differing feelings and reasons as to why I should or should not attend seminary. I have thought through the fearful financial component, my own motivation for wanting to go to seminary, the time commitment of seminary, and finally the program and location that I felt sensible and appropriate. I have thought through these matters and much more. I have been thoughtful about this decision over a long period of time and I trust that God has me where He wants me in my current decision to continue onward in attending Ashland Seminary.
As I have thought through my motivations for wanting to go to seminary, I have to say that I have not always been at peace with my reasons for attending. Barth has helped me make sense of why I want to attend seminary through his introduction in Church Dogmatics (weird, I know). Some of the initial reasons for attending seminary were made up of my enjoyment of reading, learning, and the fact that I may like to teach someday at a university or seminary. In Barth’s introduction he states that theology must always be considered a function of the church. It may sound obvious, but I found that academics (theology) and the church are not as separate as they seem (in fact, the first universities founded in the medieval ages were originally connected to churches!). The study/art of theology is inextricably related to the life and mission of the church. Thus, while seminaries often do not position themselves to serve the church, ultimately they were meant to. I understand my entering into seminary as a further service to the church as I attend to the scriptures, theology, and church history in a very academic AND ecclesiastic environment. I hope and pray that my time at Ashland (whenever it begins) will in some way be a blessing to the church. I look forward to the day when I attend my first class there.