Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Do Not Fart In The Elevator

Guest Post by Brandon Giella
Having been in seminary nearly three months now, I want to share with you a few oddities with which you ought to be acquainted. Let me begin by saying that this is my first time attending a Christian school. It is my first time living in a dorm. This is my first time turning down Trey Songz because the walls are anorexically thin. Since elementary school I have not had to so often ask those around me what I can and cannot do. They hug more often in North Korea.
To those brave men who wish to enter seminary, allow me a few tips:
1. Perfect the side hug.
2. When a woman grabs an extra Panera sandwich for her husband, do not jokingly say, “I’m going to grab one for my husband too.”
3. Do not fart in the elevator.
4. You will be inexplicably tired from 7–11 AM and from 1–4 PM, every day.
5. Find synonyms for the words community, fellowship, struggle, and intentional.
Freud wrote a bit on the narcissism of the small difference. He says, “it is precisely the minor differences in people who are otherwise alike that form the basis of feelings of hostility between them.” There is an invariable tendency for those who have few significant differences to be most at odds with one another: Shia and Sunni, Baptists and Methodists, Easy E and Dr. Dre. I find the same principle in seminary-- we all are seeking the same goal and abide by all seven standards of the school, yet we find the most sinister, silent confrontations to be over tastes in music, off-color humor, or interactions with the opposite sex. Everything is either too-this or not-enough-that.
Perhaps this is hyperbole. Between the incessant conversations on dating and the stacks of books to be read by next week, there are a few gems. One of these is the overwhelming kindness of most seminarians. Another is the plurality of world cultures, or the high regard for the study of Scripture. Whatever it is that causes me to glare slightly narrowly at some things here, there is abundantly more to be grateful.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Trust Me, I'm In Seminary...?

Sorry for the long delay in blogging, y'all! It was mid-terms, and then spring break... and then a week of recovery. All that time of travel and catching up with people led me to identify a trend in my life-- since starting grad school, people seem to think I’m suddenly an expert in all sorts of things. I’ve had a lot of people come up to me and say things like:
“Chelsea, you’re a counseling major-- let me spend 20 minutes telling you about this weird thing my friend did. Do you think you could diagnose them for me?”
“Chelsea, you’re in seminary-- what are your thoughts on the theological significance of some minor prophet and what that means for the way I’m going to raise my children?”

...See how under qualified I am for all of this? I mean, I am humbled and flattered by the fact that people seem to think so much of my input but y’all, I’ll let you in on some secrets: 
 1. I have absolutely no idea what I’m talking about most of the time. 
 2. I’m usually just making it up as I go.
 3. Until recently I didn’t even know that Obadiah was a real book in the Bible (side note: I still have a hard time finding it).
I am learning so, so much from my time here, but honestly, I don’t know if I’ll ever get to a point where I’ll say in a non-ironic way “trust me, I’m in seminary.” Because really, I just don’t think it would be that reassuring of a thing to hear. 
That said, I decided to try and scale where “trust me, I’m in seminary” falls on the level of comfort. It ended up being ranked as more soothing than hearing “trust me, I’m a florist” or “trust me, I wet the bed until I was ten,” but ranked significantly lower than “trust me, I once saved triplets from a burning building” or “trust me, I went to medical school for 8 years.” 
If there is ever an emergency situation, save an exorcism, I don’t know if saying you’re a seminarian will really put anyone’s mind at ease. 
Give it some time though and maybe one day I’ll be able to answer questions and feel pretty secure that I’m not leading you too far astray. But honestly, I don’t know if or when that day will come. So I ask that you bear with me now as I bumble my way through the present.