Posts tagged: Talbot
I have been taking my time to write this post, not by choice, but by the nature and opportunity of life. The funny thing is, as life has intensified the past several weeks, the fleece has begun to show it’s colors; I now know where I am being called to “wage the good warfare” and consequently, what the fleece is revealing to me. I know what my hand at the blackjack table is.
You will be let into these details in the coming weeks - for now I’m sitting on it. I’m pretty confident I know how God is moving, in the now. The next holy risk has been defined - but there are more to come. For them, I will decipher and explore; for them, I will be ready.
Instead, of filling you in on this part of the story, I want to say something else.
Spring semester of 2012 at Talbot School of Theology, I asked God to let me come into the semester with an open mind and clear soul. I asked for the ability to fully see and discern what God is up to with no bias against or towards Talbot. In order to lay out the fleece, I needed an open mind. If I had blinders or even tunnel vision, how could I ever fully get rid of the thoughts of Jonathon Welch and listen to the Holy Spirit to discern what the next, best, right step was?
By taking this posture of laying out the fleece and holding my life loosely - I have come to appreciate Talbot (and in some ways BIOLA) - this does not mean I agree with BIOLA (and Christian schools) or even the way Talbot conducts itself - but I have come to a place of appreciation. One of the things I appreciate most, is Talbot’s Institute for Spiritual Formation and a thing called “Spiritual Direction”.
I love Spiritual Direction; my first visit I was a doubter.
Now, I want to continue it past my requirements for school - no matter where I go to seminary.
Talbot does some things really well. Two of my three professors this semester are men I deeply respect and like. One out of my three classes is blowing my mind (thank you Baby Saucy). Being on campus for Talbot, for the past two years has been an eye opening experience. God has taught me a lot about culture. It cannot be forgotten. He has also taught me a lot about myself and the way I am wired.
In the past two years, I’ve been able to glean a lot of what Talbot does or does not do well. In the process, I’ve fully realized who Jonathon Welch is and how he is wired. It is time to step into it. It is time to unleash who I am. The time has come to fully charge after the calling and gifting inherit in me.
I’m excited for what comes next…
There are times when I realize I
actually like education. Let me restate this. I do not like education. At times, the classrooms bore me. They are stiff. Too structured. Too full of PowerPoints. At times, the professors are from a different generation and do not fully understand the 21st century (but then again, I like this about some professors too - except when they still use overhead projectors; these times make me wish for PowerPoint). But there are moments in this, where I understand how God has uniquely created and wired me.
God has divinely wired my brain to learn. My intellect is wired for information, however, this does not make me smart; this does not make me someone who is naturally gifted at school.
To understand this, one needs to understand who I was in high school. All I cared about was sports. I wanted to be a combination of Jim Rome and Bob Costas. Once I succeeded in that, I was going to parlay my success into running a sports team. I spent all of high school building this in me, studying sports, studying broadcasting. It was my dream. So, if you were to talk with me, my brain was wired with an intellectual knowledge of sports. I was good (and prideful), there were not a lot of people with more knowledge then me.
God showed up in college and showed me the path He wanted me to go down. I was not a college guy - never was. Yet, He asked me to get a degree - major in Religious Studies at CSUF. So, I faithfully went. On this journey, I discovered I could read and write. My brain could remember, recall and understand difficult cultural and theological ideas (those that are mine and those that are not). God then asked me to go to graduate school, seminary.
Now, as I’m here, I realize I am a learner. I love to be pushed. I love to learn. I say this, because one of the things I love the most about this semester is how my classes are forcing me to read things I would never have wanted to read on my own - in particularly the original, foundational works of Martin Luther.
I have not agreed with everything Martin Luther has said, but I admire his brashness and honesty. He says things I disagree with; he says things I agree with in ways I wish he did not. But I respect his willingness to be Festivus Pole when everyone else was a Christmas Tree. Right now, this is my favorite quote I have garnered from this man of God:
better is it to build upon Christ, than upon the pope. If, from my heart, I did not believe that after this life there were another, then I would sing another song, & lay the burden on another’s neck.
As I lay out the fleece this semester, this season in my life, God is reminding me of how He has uniquely wired me. For the rest of my life I will be learning - in class or out. At the same time, He is stirring in me thoughts, desires, of “what ifs”.
What if I stay at Talbot?
What if I transfer to Fuller?
What if I go on and get a PhD?
What if I pursue the ideas of doing ministry and teaching at a University?
This semester is the time for “what ifs”…
Talbot School of Theology & my semester of school started this week. It was what I anticipated.
Nothing magical happened.
There was no vision. God did not step down and tell me what I’d be doing and where I’d be in August. It was a normal week of full-time seminary.
It was me being faithful - faithful in the little things.
This semester is a process. Laying out the fleece is a reminder, not a rain dance. Laying out the fleece is a heart posture, not a oijia board. God will speak & He will guide my journey.
Week two is beginning. Seminary will be in full swing…
Holy Spirit fill me anew - come.
Give me eyes to things unseen - come.
Give me ears to hear things unspoken - come.
Calm my heart & let me perceive your presence - come.
Stir my soul & let me take holy risks - come.
Awaken my life to walk in the footsteps of Jesus - come.
Come & breathe life. Come & grow. Come & strengthen. Come & give new gifts.
Holy Spirit, Abba, let your Son’s work be on display in my life.
A friend of mine from RHF, who attended both BIOLA and Talbot, told me about this video to watch tonight. Simply, it is entitled: “All Things are Better in Koine”.
This video is campy and cheesy. If you don’t need to worry about Greek ever it probably won’t be as funny - but it still should be funny.
3 favorite lines:
“pastors, to what page can you flip when you need that exegetical trip”
“remember theology is done in community, so why don’t you sing after me.”
“it saves the exegetical day - especially in 1 Timothy 2:12”
People have been asking me why San Diego for my retreat of solitude?
Honestly, the answer is simple - it is here God has shown Himself to me in new and powerful ways. This city has grown my passion for Jesus, His Kingdom and the lost in ways I never knew were possible.
For some reason, God has used San Diego as a conduit for my spiritual growth and journey. Thus, when I was given the opportunity to choose where I could go for my retreat - San Diego was the first place I thought of. It has everything about a city that can speak to my heart and soul - beach and people.
When I need solitude or refreshment I don’t run to the mountains or woods. I go to places filled with people and the beach. It is the way God has wired me. It is the way I process. It is the way my brain works. It is a strength and weakness.
San Diego has spoken truth and hope in my life several important times before; I am expecting God to do it again.
My week has been leading to this. I’ve been preparing my heart for San Diego. God has been preparing me for this weekend.
Pray for me.
Tonight, after work, I am driving down to San Diego. I get off work at 5 p.m. and I will begin my retreat of solitude to process my calling and vocation. I am really excited.
I will be staying at a hotel in one of my favorite cities in the world, within walking distance of the bay and beach to encounter God. I am expectant this will happen. I have been taking all week to intentionally prepare for this weekend. I have been longing to be able to get away and process all God has been doing. Let me tell you, He has been doing a lot.
It is going to be a good weekend. I ask you, my tumblr followers to do me one thing - when you get a chance over the next 24 plus hours - please, please pray for me. Pray for God to speak. Pray for God to move. Pray for me to listen. Pray for me to encounter God in fresh ways.
Can you do that for me?
I am expectant.
Can you please pray for me?
For the past fifteen months I have been attending and studying at Talbot School of Theology - seminary - at Biola University. It has been a time filled with the ups and downs of life. The educational process itself has been one full of the good, bad and ugly. It has been a love-hate relationship. Sometimes more hate then love.
One of the biggest reasons for this dilemna has been the Spiritual Formation track they make every Talbot student take. It is a series of classes that must be taken in succession your first three semesters. It also includes Spiritual Direction two semesters (my second favorite part of the track). The first two semesters, the classes were dry, long and not worth my time. The second semester had it’s moments, but in the overarching perspective it even fell flat.
However, semester number three has been increasingly different. Our subject matter is calling and vocation - two subjects resonating with my heart and soul right now. Plus, it is material I find deeply important - stuff that even though it is not new to me, is so great to hear more thoughts on and different perspectives. It has been exciting. It has been a powerful reminder of who God has created me to be.
In the same way, I get to pursue this idea even further this weekend. This class has me going on a twenty-four hour retreat of solitude to pray through vocation and calling.
I am excited to do this.
It could not come at a better time.
There are a few things Talbot does that just make me scratch my head. Their philosophy, on parts of the metaphorical paper, is right on - others are way off. This is the beauty of having spirituality and academia mix.
Yes, at it’s core level, I am working on earning a Master’s degree. This is a true statement, but nowhere in the Bible, nowhere in the New Testament, when Paul is mentioning what qualifies a person for ministry, does he list off how much you know or what degree you have.
Contrarily, it is all about character.
Seminaries, are beginning to transition to this line of thinking - but now they are having a battle of philosophies with themselves. See, let me just use Talbot as an example. In order for me to get a C, I have to get an 84. Yup. You read that right. Meanwhile, they are requiring me to take three classes on Spiritual Formation - a good thing. In the first one, they spent approximately six weeks talking about the difference between seminary and grad school. How the two were similar but different. How seminary is not about grades but about character.
When I asked about the grading scale then, the prof just kept walking and ignored the question. Talbot, thankfully, is beginning to realize pastors are leaving seminary screwed up. They have become too bloated with knowledge, too tied into books, too reliant on their knowledge, not focusing on their character or the Holy Spirit. Pastors’ were going through seminary without doing ministry or even in community. Talbot is seeking to change this and the adage of “train the called not call the trained”.
They still have a way to go. It is frustrating. I’m okay with the grading standard being higher - I just wish they wouldn’t talk such a big game of how it is all about my spiritual formation. If it was, an 84 would not be a C. I sat through lectures of professors asking me to care less about my grades and more about my formation, yet, when I asked about the grading scale they ignored my questions.
Which one is it Talbot? I don’t believe you can have both…
I’m not asking you to make it where I show up and I pass, or where I do the work and I pass, but an 84 is a B. Let’s get that straight.