Stretching Our Muscles…

Thursday, Aug 30th, 2012

Tabatha JohnsonMy life, I’m sure like yours, has a ‘full speed ahead” type of schedule.  Even as I am writing this blog I’m working on another project and trying to keep my seven-month-old daughter content and entertained.  With church work, a husband who’s finishing his graduate degree, three kids and their activities my days are pretty full.  It’s not often I have a day with ‘nothing’ to do and no agenda for the day.  And I know that’s how the days of most of my friends and colleagues look too—pretty busy.

But even with all of that, I realize I want to keep doing something else too. I want to keep taking time to learn, for the simple joy of learning.  I need to keep stretching my theological muscles.  For six years I stretched and grew and entertained new ideas, and through that process I realized I enjoy the wonder of learning.  For me, that is one of the best parts of seminary—the ability to wonder, to explore, to entertain the new.  And, I miss that about seminary.  I don’t always miss the deadlines and the pressure of trying to get a good grade or keep up with my peers, but I do miss the luxury of wondering – of   reading and pausing and savoring something new for my mind in a way that only a challenging book can do. And I miss the back and forth of good dialogue that takes one even further along.

I realize too, that I need the discipline; or rather the ‘excuse’ of taking time to read more than what is in my particular niche of ministry. It’s so very easy to break the cycle of learning that seminary teaches.  It’s so easy to buy a book only to put it on the shelf intending to get to it later.  I know, though, that taking time for learning shouldn’t really be an indulgence; it should be more of a necessity.  I feel if I don’t continue to exercise those theological muscles, then they will eventually begin to atrophy, and it would be such a shame to allow that to happen. 

In just a few weeks, September 20th, our first Midrash & a Meal will begin.  I am eagerly looking forward to an afternoon dedicated to great conversation.  I’m hoping to learn a thing or two that I didn’t know before. For instance—how did we become a nation of heretics and am I one of them?  I’m excited to hear what others have to say about our book for the day—both alums and faculty.  I’m interested in how a group of faculty and alums reconnect and reform into a new relationship—I hope one of the benefits of this group is that everyone is free to learn and grow.  I’m hoping to reconnect with friends from seminary days and begin to make new ones.  But mostly I’m looking forward to the wondering—what does this mean? What do I think about it?  What should I do about it? 

I hope you’ll join us for an afternoon of wondering (and eating) and great conversation too.  We’ll be at Central Seminary, September 20th, at 11:30 having an enjoyable discussion with each other, Dr. Molly Marshall, and Bad Religion:  How We Have Become a Nation of Heretics by Ross Duthat.  You’ll be glad you joined us and gave yourself the opportunity to stretch those theological muscles again! 

Tabatha Johnson

Central 2011 MDiv