Just thinking

Someone made a comment about my studies on the weekend and I have been thinking about it all week. Well, I guess that is only 2 days but still it has made me think. I was expressing my relief to having completed two of my courses. His comment was something to the effect of “I don’t think I would study that, especially when you are doing it just for fun.” And then we talked about how, even though I am not studying in the MDiv program with the goal of becoming a full time lead pastor, I need to have a goal such as achieving a degree or I might not really study either. I doubt that I would put as much effort into the classes if I was simply auditing them – for fun.

But it started me rethinking my whole decision to do the MDiv. One thing I am confident of is that the direction I am taking is the result of God moving me in this direction. I do not know where it will lead exactly. I have some idea of areas in which I would like to utilize this pastoral training but nothing is really clear right now. Perhaps there will be some kind of outreach involving women – that is sort of in the back of my mind. And I continue to feel that my gifts will be put to use in some form of spiritual direction ministry.  It is just hard sometimes to remember the sense of direction and the affirmation of others who have encouraged me along this way. I need to keep the memory strong of the women who gathered around me to pray with me as I was discerning if this really was for me.

Just some of my thoughts these days. I guess maybe I should correct people who think that these studies are just for fun. But what do I say. that they are not fun?  It is all stuff I want to learn after all.

But I am really glad that those two classes are done. Three at one time and working full time – that was crazy!

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5 Comments

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5 responses to “Just thinking

  1. I was quite surprised to learn that a faculty advisor at the school told a lady in her early/mid-40s in the MDiv program (I think), in effect, that she would not be hired or would not find work related to her degree because of her age. I don’t have a direct quote, but it was said more or less directly that her age was an issue and that she should make her course/program decisions based on that (I wish I could remember the specific details of that conversation.)

    It’s a shame, really, that age has become such a big factor in pastoral hiring. My dad could not find a pastoral position in Canada because, among other things, he was “too old” (in his mid-50s at the time). Strange that we value “how long will you be with us” (or possibly “who will you attract to our congregation”) over “what wisdom and experience can you bring to the table”. Utility over wisdom/experience.

    It’s additionally strange because the average shelf-life of a pastor in any given congregation appears to be significantly less than a decade, so what difference does it make if you hire a pastor who is 30 or one who is 60? (Health issues can crop up at any age.)

    Some thoughts arising out of your post.

  2. Linea

    Funny, I hadn’t even thought of the remark in terms of being related to my age. I suppose in some ways it is. Maybe anything new I might venture to take on at my age would be considered as “doing it for fun” as opposed to doing it to enter a career in order to make a living.

    Because quite frankly, I will never be a pastor in order to make a living. If it was about keeping or finding a paying position, I could just stay in the profession I am in now. There will continue to be things I can do in Dentistry even after I retire. I just may choose to do them differently. They may be part of how I minister.

    It just kind of is weird that here I am thinking outside the box about ministry at my young old age and other people way younger have no clue that ministry could look different than being a lead pastor of a church.

    I sure hope that the woman who was being told she wouldn’t find a position at her age did not listen to the adviser. 40 is a perfect age for ministry if that is where God has called you to be.

  3. Ha. I assumed that the person who you spoke to was referring to your age. That wasn’t meant as an insult and I hope you didn’t take it as such! I think my interpretation of what you said was affected by the prior conversation with the classmate.

    (There’s a lesson in hermeneutics in there somewhere.)

  4. Linea

    Yeah, hermeneutics and presuppositions. In my text they are called preunderstandings and we all have them, can’t exist without them it seems.

    The comment may well have been made because of my age and therefore another presupposition – that no one my age would decide to start this with the intention of using it – therefore it must just be for fun and not a serious venture?

    Anyway, I am certainly not offended by your comment. I’m not really offended by the other person’s comment either, just made me realize that probably most people have a very poor understanding of why I am doing this. It is hard to explain why God pushes a person to follow a certain path in life. And that is complicated by a certain amount of uncertainty on my part too – I just knew I needed to in order to be faithful. One step at a time I’ll get there and then it will be clearer I expect.

  5. You are young relative to several other people I know who began their MDiv. While only one of the three I can think of went on to “pastor” a congregation, all of them found deep, deep meaning and direction from doing so. I think that a few of them didn’t see the direction until the end.

    I don’t know you as well as others, but the pastoral and formative role of a spiritual director sounds very fitting. We’ll be praying for you!

    Peace,
    Jamie