Years ago, on my first go-around with seminary, I wrote for a website called Going To Seminary. The site was started by an old campus minister of mine, and it was meant to be a place for wisdom and encouragement in seminary life. Looking back on the posts I wrote then, I still can’t believe how overzealous and eager I was, just six years ago.
Anyway, the last post I ever wrote for them was called “Realizing Seminary’s Not For You“, in which I wrote about my experience of deciding to drop out of school. Many people found this post encouraging, but astonishingly, the post inspired some comments that were some of the harshest I’ve ever received online for something I’ve written. People couldn’t imagine that God could call someone to seminary and then call them out before it was finished. Surely it must be a lack of trust and faith on my part, right?
Well, I still stand by that decision, and one of the main reasons why is that it set me up to now return to seminary with a much more clear, gracious, and (hopefully) mature mindset on the whole enterprise. Since I’ve been going back to seminary, I suppose it’s time for me to go back to writing on Going To Seminary. And so I have. Today marks the return of my writing on that site (I gave y’all a heads up last week).
Appropriately, my first post is an update and follow up to that previous piece. It’s called “Going (Back) to Seminary“.
It goes through each of those reasons why I left seminary and talks about how God worked in me and my life to lead me back, albeit to a different school. I hope each of you are able to be encouraged in your own journeys with God. Also, leave some comments and let us know what you think!
Check out the rest of my Going To Seminary posts.
It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; because there is not effort without error and shortcomings; but who does actually strive to do the deed; who knows the great enthusiasm, the great devotion, who spends himself in a worthy cause, who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement and who at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly. So that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.
–Theodore Roosevelt (thanks, David Schrott)
Do you have any rituals? Last week, I wrote about about how I would love to find a steady “rhythm” to my daily existence. Do any of you have that? Is it realistic to desire that? My roommate Tim gets up most every morning at around the same time, makes a french press of coffee and sits out our kitchen table and reads his giant red-leather ESV Study Bible. I love that. It’s weird whenever I come downstairs and he’s had to go to work early or something and isn’t doing that.
Me? A couple of days ago, I actually got to bed sort of early (for me) at around 11:15. I set my alarm for 7am, knowing I had to walk out the door by 8am. I figured I could take a shower and have some time to just relax and maybe pray or read my own Bible in the morning (for the first time in God knows how long).
Rest in peace, Reform & Revive.
As of today, the online magazine I used to run, Reform & Revive, is no more. It was started in a coffee shop in Richmond, and now it is ending in a coffee shop in Philly (forgive the melodramatic picture attached to this post).
For those that just met me, just started following this blog, or just started reading my stuff, you probably have never really heard much about this little attempt at an online magazine I had. That’s because it’s last original article was posted almost nine months ago.
The original idea of the site was to gather a diverse group of writers and guest contributors who would then write about the “intersection of theology and life”. This could find its expression in art, poetry, prose, meditation, short fiction, or more typical non-fiction theological fare. But in the end, I wanted it to be the expression of hearts whose affections had been inflamed by the deeper truths of who God is.
And I think we greatly succeeded in this. The vast majority of writings on the site certainly constituted this calibre of expression. It was exciting. But then people, due to life and such, stopped writing. Eventually, in my desperation to get somebody–anybody–to consistently write, I let the quality of the posts at times slip. The site’s readership, for one reason another (probably because it had the word “Reform” in it) began to appeal and primarily lead towards the Mark Driscoll/John Piper groupies and wanna-be’s; the “TR’s” as we would call them at my seminary (the “Totally Reformed!”). It just wasn’t fun and fruitful anymore when the hyper-Calvinistic theology police came to town, and it all went downhill from there, until no one was writing anything, and the only other person that had written as much as I had on the site deleted all of her stuff off the site, on the off-chance that someone would find her name attached to it someday.
I wanted to write a quick note to anyone that’s been confused about the lack of writing on all of my sites.
For one reason or another, I’ve decided to do more research on the Slavery, Bible, and Atheism series. Here’s why: It’s a six part series and so far each part has required two separate posts. I am mostly done with the second post of Part 2, and for the whole series so far, I have almost 20 pages of content written. With the stuff I want to say, and the content I wish to cover, I’ve realized that by the end of the series, if I stay on pace, I could have anywhere between 60 and 75 pages worth of material written. And this doesn’t even include the pages worth of comments I’ve written on comments on Facebook and here on the blog. So far, all I’ve written has been very “bloggy” in style and language; in other words — completely unworthy of even considering trying to see published. It’s been very polemical and directly addresses other people and conversations not directly involved in this blog.
sorry, no y-axis this time
[Thank you to spectacular photographer and friend David Schrott for inspiring this post]
Okay, due to a few recent articles I’ve written, the number of people visiting my blog has increased by over 4000% in the past week. It’s pretty nuts. That’s why everything has seemed to be about Derek Webb and his new album, Stockholm Syndrome. So, I just wanted to take this chance to put in a few plugs for some of my other projects.
I have web magazine called Reform & Revive. It looks at the intersection between faith and culture, politics, art, the church, and just life in general. These Derek Webb posts would perhaps have been more appropriate on that site, but the readership here jumped up so fast (I’m actually on the first page of most Google searches having to do with the album).
Anyway, friend, brother, and fellow impassioned writer, Sean Brendan Stewart, just put up a special article that seems to have a similar message as the new Webb album. It’s some commentary from him, then a very brief manuscript of some audio from a Carter Conlon message. After that, feel free to look at our more regular full articles from our Contributors.
Lastly, I have my own personal site, Prodigal Paul, that acts as a hub for organizing other blogs, Bible studies, sermons, and such that I have produced over the years.
That is all.