Admittedly, the title of this post is a tad dramatic. However, some days I feel that it is entirely accurate. Seminary ahs led me to have regular existential crises.
Seminary has been a great experience thus fat. I have completed a little over a year and a half of a three-year program. I am more than half done. I have had ups and downs. I have failed and I have succeeded. I have had numerous health problems and have made great friends.
But one thing seminary has truly done is to make me question everything. I have never really questioned that there is a God but I have questioned so many other things. When I came to seminary, I thought I would be leaving ordained and ready to lead a small congregation. I know now that this is not the case. I no longer have an interest in pastoring a church or in being ordained.
I have been a member of the Presbyterian Church (USA) since elementary school. I have been ordained as a deacon and as a ruling elder. I am currently an inquirer of the ordination track. But my classes and my experiences make me question whether or not this is the right denomination for me. For one thing, all of my Presbyterian comrades seem to love love love Karl Barth. I have not read much Barth and I have no interest in reading any more of his work. My Presbyterian friends and professors LOVE John Calvin. I cannot stand John Calvin! My hatred for him and his work began when a professor said to me, “If a baby gets a brain tumor and dies, John Calvin says that it is God’s will!” I that that that is messed up and that does NOT sound like the God I believe in! I do not really fall in line with predestination and the total depravity.
I believe in pacifism. I believe in a God who lets us make out own mistakes but is there to save us. I believe in unending grace. I believe that awful things happen but not that those awful things are God’s will. I believe in free will. I believe in a God who acceptance and loving embraces.
II do not know where I belong. Maybe the PUSA is the right lace for me, but maybe it is not. Is it possible to live within a denomination while totally excluding the works of the theologians that they build their beliefs off of?