Category: This is Central
Your Calling. Your Values. Your Seminary.
This blog post is written by Central student David Kiker as part of the “Your calling. Your values. Your seminary.” blog series.
“Your calling. Your values. Your seminary.” When I began my journey at Central, I wasn’t entirely sure what my calling was. I felt a call to go to seminary and to be involved in ministry in some sense, but what that looked like, I had absolutely no idea. However, I knew that seminary would be the place to figure that out, and looking back, Central was absolutely the right place for me.
I knew that I did not want a seminary that would try and tell me what to think about the Bible, instead I wanted to be a part of a community of learners that would wrestle with scripture and faith and challenge what I thought I knew about the Bible. This describes the Central community perfectly. The professors here at Central constantly challenge you to go deeper in your studies, to consider new ideas, and foster an environment that encourages respectful debate and discussion.
Being a part of the Central community does not mean you have to agree with everything said in class, it means that you have to be willing to be open to new perspectives and respectful in presenting yours. That said, while Central does allow for considerable diversity in theological perspective, there is also a great deal of emphasis placed on responsible interpretation of scripture. Too often, scripture has been and continues to be used to perpetuate injustice and discrimination. My experience at Central has opened my eyes to the ways in which that happens, and has helped me to always keep practical issues of justice in mind when interpreting Scripture.
Central is one of the most welcoming communities of faith that I have ever been a part of, but that does not mean your seminary journey here will be easy. It can be a difficult process to have your perspectives constantly challenged, at times it feels as though you are deconstructing and reconstructing your faith. However difficult the process may be, for me it was absolutely worth it. Not only was it beneficial for my faith and helping me to become a better, more responsible interpreter of the Bible, it also clarified for me what my calling is. I want to help people learn how to think about the Bible for themselves and to equip them to be responsible interpreters of Scripture. As I begin to go into pastoral ministry myself, this goal has guided my sermons and approach to biblical interpretation, and the education I have received at Central has prepared me well. Not only has the education prepared me well, but I know that this is not a solo journey. I have made lifelong friends in my classes at Central, and the professors are not only there to challenge you and educate you, but they are excellent mentors and friends as well.
If you want a seminary where you just go to class, get told what to think, and move on, Central is not the place for you. But if you want a seminary education in a theologically and culturally diverse community that will challenge and encourage you every step of the way, then I can think of no better place than Central.