"God doesn't call the qualified, he qualifies the called."
So, I wanted to use this post to let you know all about my weekend in Atlanta, Georgia. Like I mentioned in my previous post, I flew down there to look at Columbia Theological Seminary. I was hoping that by actually setting foot on the campus, I would get a better idea of where I am going and what I am doing with my life. I hoped that the weekend would help me find some clarity and give me an idea if indeed seminary is where I should go.
I arrived Friday afternoon and was promptly picked up at the airport by one of their current students. We spent the entire ride there talking about the school and why she decided to go there and what made her feel called to seminary. It was a good conversation and I appreciated the fact that she was honest with me. We got to the campus and I promptly got checked in and had some time to walk around campus and enjoy the sights. The campus is absolutely gorgeous and fall was there in full bloom which was great for this Texas boy to see.
Since I had some free time that afternoon, I had made arrangements to spend some time with one of my good friends from college who lives in Atlanta now. She picked me up on campus and took me out for frozen yogurt (which I always love) and we walked around downtown Decatur. The town is breathtaking and feels very homey and has that small-town feel that I have always found appealing. It kinda reminded me of my hometown in a way or at least the parts of my hometown that I like. After yogurt and a walking tour, she then took me to this great bar for a beer and more conversation. It was just really great to get to catch up with her and talk for a while about our lives and what has been going on in them. I always like having those kind of conversations with people so it was nice to just have a chance to chat over a beer and get caught up. I had to be back at the campus by 6 so she dropped me off and I then went to the dinner that had been arranged for all the prospective students that weekend. I personally wasn't a huge fan of it. It just felt really formal and stiff and I felt very awkward and out of place and underdressed and just really wasn't too happy about it. Fortunately, that didn't last that long and we were then divided into small groups to go have dessert at faculty houses. This I liked more as it was much more informal and less people to talk to. We met with current students and professors and had a nice Q & A session about the school and why it could be a great fit for us. Very low-pressure and intimate which is how I like things. That was it for the day so I promptly went back to my room and went to bed.
Saturday was a very full and busy day as it was filled with sessions and a tour of campus housing and a panel discussion and an interview with admissions and lots of other stuff. My interview went really well and I was able to talk about why I was considering seminary and also get some of my questions answered in regards to the school. The interview was very informal and I really felt comfortable talking with her about my story and everything. There was a panel discussion after chapel about the different forms of ministry and what each had to offer us. The housing at Columbia is great and I was really impressed by what they had to offer to their students. Definitely a lot to offer in that respect even if cell phone reception is spotty in some of the halls. The session in financial aid was the one I was most nervous about attending but it actually went better than I thought it would. Turns out Columbia is way cheaper than my undergrad was!! That was a relief although I am definitely going to have to get some great financial aid offers if I am going to be going anywhere for school. Guess who has to fill out the FAFSA this next year??!! Anyway, after all our sessions were over the school hosted a big, Italian dinner for us and all the current seminary students. The food was great and there was a live jazz band that played all during dinner. Great music, great food, great company and ice cream for dessert!! What more could one ask for??!! Well, after that, I had agreed to go have some drinks with my friend that goes to Columbia. We ended up going to the same bar that everyone else was going to and it really was a great way to end the day. Everybody just hanging out and playing shuffleboard or darts or just simply talking over a glass of beer. What an experience and really made me feel a lot more comfortable about the whole weekend.
Sunday morning, I went with my friend to church and then had pizza afterwards and then it was time for me to head to the airport to fly back to Chicago.
I had a really positive experience this past weekend and more importantly, I think I found some purpose in my life. The whole weekend, I really felt the presence of God leading me to seminary. I could feel myself going there and I could articulate reasons why I think it is the right move for me. Now, I really feel like being a seminary student is the right next move for me. I'm not certain that I will be going for an MDiv and I am not entirely convinced that Columbia is the right fit for me but I now definitely feel that my next move should be applying for seminaries. The more I think about it, the more I realize how perfect a fit it is for me. I think I've known for years that it was the right move for me but have always been resistant until now. Not sure what type of ministry I want to work in yet but it's still early. I would love to do youth or campus ministry or Christian Education or even start a music/drama ministry somewhere. I think that I bring a lot of skills and a lot of experience to the table that will help me in this endeavor. I surely do hope that God is leading me down the right path and that he will help me achieve this goal. He knows my reservations and so I hope that he will help me get past those. I feel a sense of peace with my decision and no longer feel like I am just drifting through life anymore. I had a long talk with God about this decision and I sincerely believe that me going to seminary is truly the path that he wants me to walk down.
All I have to do now is begin filling out applications and just hope and pray that everything works out in my favor. I do sincerely hope that all of you reading this will support me in this endeavor. I know that not everybody who reads this is a religious person and some of you may be even anti-religion and that is all well and good but I do still hope that you will accept and support my decision. I think I am finally walking down the path that God wants me to walk and that is such a good feeling to finally have that sense of clarity. I think things are finally starting to come together for me and my life. Proof that becoming a YAV was truly the best decision I ever made. Thanks, everyone, for continuing to read this and comment on it. You guys are the reason that I am able to do this and without your support, I would be nowhere and would probably still be drifting aimlessly. I will make sure to keep you guys updated on this whole process. I still have some other schools I want to visit before I make my final decision so I have some time. Thanks for reading this really long and in some cases incoherent post!! Remember, God loves you (and so do I).