Last Tuesday was half a year from the day we moved to New Jersey. While six months, to some, may feel like a long time, it has transpired rather quickly, so quick in fact it is so easy to ride the days like a raft down a raging river, stopping only for emergencies. There have been a handful of times in these last six months where indeed I fell out of the raft. It is quite easy to get caught up in the fast-paced atmosphere of the East Coast and very difficult to slow down and quiet the mind and body.
As a student of theology, I am appalled at my own shortcomings as a faithful servant of Christ. Reflecting on the goals and aspirations of being a seminarian at Princeton Theological Seminary, I realize I have often reduced my faith to an academic process of thought. How easy it becomes to read scripture with a certain lens from a class imposed upon it and not for personal growth and maturity. The line between academic studies and personal faith can so often intertwine and overlap that sometimes the line vanishes and I feel that I am standing on thin air.
However, I do believe this is an intentional aspect of seminary. Deep personal understanding does not arise from comfort and expected outcomes. Instead maturity blossoms from the unexpected, grappling with new issues, and seeking to add and replace new pieces of theological conviction in our seemingly mature minds. Embracing the new while holding onto those shaping experiences of the past is what matures us as faithful disciples of Jesus Christ. None of Christ’s commands were comfortable or easy to follow. Indeed they are downright impossible to adhere to completely, unless of course you are Pelagius.
Slowing down and assessing the past six months I realize I have learned quite alot, in both academics and personal worldview. Here are a few new understandings into my life since u-hauling it across the country from the blissful relax of Idaho:
I have learned a new language proficiently (Biblical Greek)
I have realized that Whitworth College’s Old Testament and Early Christianity courses were taught more efficiently than their seminary equivalent here at Princeton. Go figure…
I have rediscovered my passion for writing papers and reading good theology
I have learned how incredible my wife is at Architecture
I did not realize how much I would miss mountains…or anything that you can see in the distance on the horizon for that matter
I took taking left turns for granted…crazy jughandles…
I misperceived New Jersey as being a concrete industrial heaven. There are quite a few rural daycation spots that we have been thoroughly surprised by
However I have realized no matter how much the East Coast doesn’t match up with the West, a cheesesteak is never far away.
I have confirmed my passion for exploring new places and building a mental map with which I can impress my wife by taking shortcuts listening to her tote, “you don’t know where you’re going do you?” only to amaze her by popping out right where we meant to go 😉
And last but not least, I have learned an incredible amount of new patience that I never knew I was capable of with our puppy, Sammie
What an impressive six months it has been so far in our lives in Princeton. Perhaps this post will explain why there hasn’t been another one since October. Jan-Term is finishing up the end of this week and Spring Semester is just around the bend. I would like to leave you all with this wonderful quote from St. Augustine’s Confessions:
“You had pierced my heart with the arrows of your love, and I carried fixed deep in my vital organs your words, and the examples of your servants; those whom, once stained black, you have made radiant, and, once dead, you have made alive” (Book 9.2.3)