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  • Writer's picturecocodensmore

I’m near to completing my first semester of seminary.



TRIGGER WARNING: OK this one is all boring and all God Squad-ey, so those of you who are disgusted by that sort of thing, you have been forewarned. (Yes, David, that means you!)


November 22, 2023


Next week is the last week of classes. I’m near to completing my first semester of seminary.


How do I feel about that?


Wonderful. I feel wonderful. And so blessed to be in this program, and so excited about all the learning ahead. Excited. I love this, that I am doing this. It is indeed a miracle. If you only knew. It is a miracle.


I registered for next semester and got all the classes I wanted. The Letters of Paul, Postmodern Theology, and Reformed Theology. I’m even taking an intensive five-day all-day course in Process Theology, something I’m very intrigued by but don’t know a whole lot about yet. Well, I’m waitlisted, so we’ll see if I get in. I ordered books for all my classes, because I have the money to do that right now. They’ve been coming, one or two a day, and when I open the packages and hold them in my hands, I actually get butterflies. So much knowledge in there, so much goodness to absorb and make mine.


Ethics and the Black Church – Traditions and Culture were the two most challenging classes I’ve ever taken. I mean, working on my MBA, there was Accounting, and Econ, and Stats, which I didn’t think I’d make it through (but I did). But Ethics and the Black Church were a whole new, different kind of challenge. It was painful. That’s the best word to describe the experience: painful. The first week of the Black Church, I seriously considered dropping the class. But that would only postpone the inevitable. I knew it would grow me and stretch me to push in and push through. And it absolutely did. Both classes were on Tuesdays, and it took hours to wind down after. My stomach would be in knots. I tried to participate, but I was terrified I’d say something offensive. And I probably did. It got much better as the semester went on. I participated more; I said mostly the right things. I think I did, anyway. I was honest, and my heart showed. There’s this connection that builds, even in a Zoom class, we all get to know one another and then there’s trust. But there’s especially grace, we all gave one another much grace. I’ll explore coming face to face with my white fragility in future posts.


And then I had Monks, Martyrs, and Mystics Wednesday mornings, and that was a lovely, serene class, with a relaxed tone and easy comraderie. It was as joyous as the others were painful. I adopted the daily office as my spiritual practice, and I have yet to write my final paper on my experience. The daily office involves reading from a prayer book four times a day. I wasn’t perfect at it – far from. In fact, writing this, I realize it’s after 11 pm and I’ve not read from the prayer book at all today. I won’t try to catch up, you can’t cram prayers like you cram for a test. I’ll do the vespers now.


So, I sound like I had a big come to Jesus and got religion. It’s not like that, not at all. It’s the joy of studying history, philosophy, theology, religion, and sociology, but first and foremost – history.


I knew this would happen, that I would get centered and grounded. That's why I'm doing this. That was my goal. And it is happening. I am heavy into my becoming, and it is a most precious and beautiful time.


But I’m still Coco – good, bad, and everything in between. I don’t plan on a hermitage, at least not anytime soon.


I came across this verse today, and it has me smiling.


“Even to your old age and gray hairs I am she, I am she who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you.”

Isaiah 46:4


I Persevere. And life goes on.


+++


W.,


Hello. I just wanted to let you know how much your words of affirmation meant to me. I've been thinking a lot about what you said to me in class, and you really need to know you made a difference. I'm so often discouraged, it was good to know you believe I'm on the right track.


Thank You,

Coco


Hi Coco,


Sorry for the slow response. I heard the sincerity in your comments, and it moved me. I thought that it was very important that the voice of a marginalized person affirmed you. You're doing HARD work and I wanted to make sure that you know that I see it and I appreciate it.


I hope you have a fantastic Thanksgiving.


Blessings,

W.

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