Studying in seminary has been to me love and love hate relationship. I emphasize love here because I love it really. There is no greater joy in learning and listening to lectures and reading scholarly books (even though sometimes I don’t understand stuff I read!). I also say ‘hate’ because sometimes thinking about getting good grades is sometimes a hassle really.
It gives me great pleasure if I do get good grades because of the amount of work I do in writing up ideas to a given topic and argue and critique issues and coming to a well argument for positions that I hold. I mean who wouldn’t like to see great comments on their well written paper!
But sometimes always having this mentality that “I simply have to get good grades only” makes me tired. Being ruled by this “demon” make studying and writing a bore and a pain in the butt. But that aside it help it grades are good or great if there are ambitions of getting a well deserved degree.
Well, thinking along these lines I kind of have to make peace with the gifts that I have, being content where I don’t have all the answers or I can’t really express ideas I have in my head in understandable phrases. But improving when I can on comments made by lecturers and trying to see things from a wider perspective. I mean not making it along the levels of being a biblical scholar is not the end of the world.
I heard a podcast by Rob Bell on his experince and he did not do well in his journey but look where he is now. A good reminder for me and for those who struggle in this area.
Well what I’m learning through this all is that, although I might not be able to make great arguments of a given topic or issue, seminary ‘failure’ is not the end of the world. In fact, I for one have to admit that learning is like a journey. You fail but you learn something new along the way. I have to admit that stuff I wrote when I first ventured into theological studies were crappy. Ideas I had were one dimensional. Books I read were stuff I mostly agreed with. Looking back at it now I have seen that my mind has developed through mistakes.
For example, Christianity was only about salvation and going to heaven until I learned about the ‘kingdom of God.’ Reading books by Scot McKnight and N. T. Wright has broadened my views. I always thought that resurrection was limited with the soul being raised until I learned that it was a bodily kind of resurrection.
So, I have to remind myself that, even if my papers now don’t get critical acclaim globally, learning it a lifelong thing. One develops his or her mind and life by living, failing and getting back up again. Learning does not end when one gets his PhD, it’s something that gets developed through time. Failure is a platform to greater heights only when one take it like a man or woman, accepting failure and moving along and keep learning and being thinking people in life.