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Restless

As I knew would be tempting to happen, I have come upon so many things to say in this blog that I have pretty much totally neglected it for the past couple of weeks, because I don't know how to say all of it. So, I'll just forget it and start with where I am today.

Right now I work an incredibly inane job where I call companies all day long and basically repeat the same line over and over. Sometimes I literally repeat the same two sentences six times in a single call. So, naturally, I seek for the little ways of escaping, whether that be standing up where I am working and looking across the sea of cubicles out the windows on the other side of the office while I speak into my headset, or, more commonly, sitting during my lunch hour and checking up on the websites of missionary friends. Today I perused the website of my friend Ashley Sides, who is currently working in Prague, Czech Republic. Then I scanned through some of the more recent photo galleries of Jessica's Japanese adventures. Then I went over to see some of the new stuff on the Ukrainian Education Center site. Needless to say, I was unbelievably restless all afternoon with nothing but the vision of adventure burned into my brain. I devised quite a number of reasons to quit on the spot and hop a plane to China. And, it just so happens that a few minutes ago I received the latest update from some missionary friends in that very place.

So what am I to do? Keep sitting there in that dusty office chair, dialing one phone number after another and repeating the same line, just so I can see a lousy $300 check at the end of the week? Is patience all that I am lacking here? Is my time that cheap and worthless, that this is what I'm spending it on?

This past weekend I went down to Abilene and got more of a glimpse of my future. I'm excited about graduate school, but apprehensive of the subtle demands it makes at the same time. I realize that I am 24 years old and still spiritually immature, but I see a huge conflict looming that I am going to need a lot of maturity to deal with: I disdain academic theology, yet I know that I want to do what it takes to get the M. Div. degree. This is seminary. The foundational purpose of seminary is to train a Christian for the demands of ministry. Yet, when I asked about that in front of the most prestigious professors in my Christian world, they openly said that I should consider backing off of what I consider to be the active Christian life so that I can focus on the academic demands of the M. Div. I should not participate in ministry so that I can do better ministry??? Gary Green might want me to serve on the part time campus ministry staff at Southern Hills in Abilene. Would it actually in my best interest to turn that down so that I can, in the eyes of these professors, break into the "professional" ministry world more prepared? I hope the disparity I am seeing here is not unreasonable. I have a lot to learn, and I know that working on the M. Div. at ACU is going to spiritually challenge me in big ways. But writing a comp on the hermeneutical nature of a specific historical ecclesiology ultimately is only going to be good for impressing a professor, not touching the soul of someone who needs to experience the power of a late night prayer at a picnic table in a park at 2:00am.

Our brightest, most talented Christian servants are encouraged to pursue graduate school (seminary) for preparation to take on those responisibilities at a whole new level. Yet, what I see is a lot of graduate theology students who are now some of the least involved people in real ministry. I pray to God that this is not my lot. Should I escape off to China or Ukraine where real ministry can take place right now? No. Because until I come back into the realization that real ministry can take place right now, right here, even sitting in a dusty office chair making repetitive phone calls all day, then hopping a plane to somewhere else will only be a cover. So, I'll get up again in the morning and do it again, so that when I head to Abilene I won't fall into any traps. I don't need wild adventure to know that God is working in big ways. Now if I could only really feel that way.


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