Friday, November 14, 2008

Seminary Reflections: A Day in the Life

Sometimes -- often, I'm afraid -- seminarians forget how fortunate they are to be called to the vocation of learning. It happens fairly regularly, I think. All you want to do is serve a congregation as a pastor, so seminary seems like a hurdle to get over rather than three years to enjoy. I’m of a another mindset, however. Whatever follows seminary will be great, but I’m in no hurry to skip the blessings of seminary. With this in mind, here’s A Day in the Life of a Seminarian (basically, my Monday past.)

After going to bed about 1:00 am, I wake around 7:30. Well, “wake” is more suggestive than actual because I hit the snooze for a good thirty minutes before finally getting up and firing up the coffee pot. Off to an 8:45 am men’s prayer group. I could tell you what we talk about, but I’d have to kill you.

Come 10:00 there’s daily chapel led by senior MDiv students. Monday is a service of morning prayer which you’ll probably recognize as Presbyterian, but will also have some more intentional creative elements than your regular three hymns and a prayer. Sometimes it’s great. Sometimes, it’s, well, more experimental.

10:30 = coffee break. Students, faculty, and staff mosey on over to the refectory for the ritual of caffeine, mini bagels (rice krispy treats on a good day), and conversation. A great time to see friends who aren’t in your classes, chat with a prof about non class things, or commiserate about all the work you have to do.

11:00 I’m off to class, in this case, Introduction to Christian Ethics. This day we discuss the place of faith in the public debate of global issues, specifically world hunger. If there is enough food produced every year to feed every person in the world, but if millions die from hunger-related causes each year, how should the Christian respond and is that response unique or different from a Jew or agnostic?

12:30 Lunch. Back to the refectory, perhaps, for some not so healthy food but holy conversation on Harry Potter banquet-looking tables.

1:30 Back to class: Creation, New Creation, and Ecology where we discuss a chapter of a book on how the commodification of time affects worship, church life, and service in general. This class of twelve students is team taught by an old testament and new testament professor. The old testament prof, having written a book on Ecclesiastes, invites us to whip out our bibles and reflect on the sage’s understanding of time. The new testament prof mentions Jesus or Paul or something.

3:00-6:30 Break. Or in this case, time to get some exercise in. A trip to the library is always in order. Then brewing more coffee before class.

6:30-9:30 It’s “suicide day” in pastoral care. After a lecture we break up into small groups and role-play how to talk someone out of suicide, moving methodically through the steps we’ve just learned. Back with the entire group, we discuss warning signs and theological implications.

9:30 onward Reading. Writing. Facebooking. Recovering. Sleep.

It’s really quite a great life, I’d say. But I do wonder what might follow once all my classes are completed. Then again, I’ve got some studying to do.


Sarahlynn said...

Adam, I read and appreciated this, but never commented. Sorry about that, and thank you for sharing it!

Teri said...

oh, the rice krispy treats were good days indeed. How come when you get into the parish nobody has coffee break for you every morning at 10.30? I could really use coffee and a snack then. :-)