New Blog Series: Seminary Stories for Thirsty Brains

So, my post on mentoring seems to have hit a nerve. So many women responded, sometimes with tears, about their desire to dive deeper into theology and be encouraged in ministry. Others talked about their decision to throw themselves into leadership or attend seminary to resolve this problem, and even offered to mentor others. Plenty of men piped in too, voicing their encouragement and talking about ways they have made mentoring work.

This gave me an idea.

Not all of us can attend seminary, and not all of us should. Time, finances, and stage of life can pose significant barriers. But that doesn't mean they shouldn't be able to enjoy some of the benefits seminary offers, especially the connection and exchange of ideas with people who are walking that road. What books should I read on this particular topic? How did you cope with (fill in the blank)? Or just, “Help, I'm feeling like a freak of feminine nature, and I need someone to tell me I'm not crazy, or prideful, or overreaching my bounds!”

And those of us who are currently attending seminary would really benefit from the experiences of others who have been there, particularly women who had to cope with similar barriers and life balance issues. I confess to having some selfish motivations here. I need advice and encouragement on getting through these years, and since I'm doing most of my classes online, the blogosphere seems like a good place to get it.

So, I'm thinking of doing a series where people can tell their seminary stories, share wisdom they learned along the way (or just tips on slogging through Augustine), talk about the books or classes they found most transformative, and just basically share the wealth they've been entrusted with. Also, seminary attendance or female-ness is not a pre-requisite for contributing to this series. If a woman with an Mrs. degree wants to talk about her hunger to go deeper, or how it inspired her to start a reading group at her church, or a man wants to talk about his favorite books on biblical interpretation, his speed reading technique, or how he encourages his female students, awesome!

So, whatcha think? Would this be of value to you? Would you like to contribute if I go ahead with this?

21 Responses to New Blog Series: Seminary Stories for Thirsty Brains

  1. Jessica January 6, 2014 at 11:08 am #

    Sure! I’m interested in reading, and possibly contributing (but I’m not sure what I’d write). I’ll be finishing my master’s in intercultural studies at NTS this spring, and am excited that Carla is now the president. :)

    • Jenny Rae Armstrong January 6, 2014 at 12:14 pm #

      That IS exciting!!! Definitely mull over what you’d like to write–I’d love for you to contribute!

      • Jessica January 21, 2014 at 5:53 am #

        I could write about my ministry experience OUTSIDE of seminary (or lack thereof), while a student, and what I learned in that regard.

        How long do you think that series would go?

  2. Caris Adel January 6, 2014 at 11:36 am #

    YES! I would love love love love this. I didn’t even go to college, so even if we had the money, doing anything online isn’t even an option for me. I feel like I’m skimming an education off of Twitter and book recommendations, ha.

    • Jenny Rae Armstrong January 6, 2014 at 12:13 pm #

      I didn’t finish my B.A. until last May, at age 36, so I totally get it! Skimming an education off the internet–yes. 😀

  3. Megan J. Robinson January 6, 2014 at 11:43 am #

    Yes! I went to seminary, and had quite a mixed bag of an experience. I’d love to contribute, and learn from others too! Thanks for the post and the idea!

  4. Alan January 6, 2014 at 11:49 am #

    I think this is a good idea and I would like to contribute if I get lead to. I was two classes away from graduating with a Master’s in Global Studies and left seminary. I would like to be a part of the discussion, but in all honesty I probably have quite a dissenting view to most people about seminary. I don’t want to cause unnecessary arguments, but if you were ever looking for another angle on seminary I’d be happy to participate.

    • Jenny Rae Armstrong January 6, 2014 at 12:08 pm #

      Dissenting views are great! I’m not looking for a rosy picture of all things grad school–just honest discussion about the good, the bad, and the ugly, and help and encourgement for growth, whatever that looks like.

  5. Joanna January 6, 2014 at 3:01 pm #

    This sounds incredible!! I would love to read/participate in this blog series! 😀

  6. Darcyjo January 6, 2014 at 4:00 pm #

    I wouldn’t mind being involved in this discussion, if you can use me. I graduated from Duke in May with my MDiv, and am currently working at my first appointment.

  7. Polly January 6, 2014 at 10:26 pm #

    I love this idea! Thank you. Thank you.

  8. Diana Trautwein January 6, 2014 at 11:51 pm #

    In like Flynn on this idea. Whatever I can do. . . but not immediately.

  9. Bev Murrill January 7, 2014 at 4:03 am #

    Awesome idea. I did my MAGL with Fuller online. It was a fantastic experience, although not without its issues. I’m about to start a PhD… would love to read such a blog and to contribute.

  10. Susanne January 7, 2014 at 8:09 am #

    neat idea!

  11. Rochelle January 7, 2014 at 8:53 am #

    Wonderful! Please do. I will probably contribute.

  12. Callie Glorioso-Mays January 10, 2014 at 11:27 pm #

    I saw this post the day it was published and meant to leave a comment that day when I transferred to my computer, but it somehow slipped my mind. Anyway, this is a series I would absolutely love to read. I have several friends in seminaries right now and it is my dream/goal to go someday as well. Right now I’m in the seminary of being a SAHM, which has a lot of lessons of its own. :)

  13. Kelly J Youngblood January 12, 2014 at 4:17 pm #

    Would love to contribute to this. Started seminary in 2003 (?) and did about 15 credits, I think, and then quit. Many reasons why and many reasons why I haven’t gone back. I wrote about why I quit once on my blog, but have had other thoughts that I never covered there and they might fit in well with your series.

  14. Jennifer March 8, 2014 at 9:45 pm #

    Well- I know this post is old. But I graduated nearly 20 years ago from a conservative seminary. I was single and got married in the middle. I finished, but have never used my degree professionally. I can honestly say that I usually don’t tell many people, because most people cannot relate. When I first graduated, people knew and would often defer to me on tricky/sticky theological issues. Nowadays I am a sahm and it all seems dreamlike. I know I was blessed to have the experience and I learned so many things. It was also a very hard time because I was so poor. My dearest friend also graduated with me and we relate well because of shared experience. Seminary is not for the faint of heart and more so for a woman. You’re a minority in a place full of egos. I was blessed to be treated well and my profs tended to treat me like a daughter (I was the youngest on my particular campus at 21). I graduated before the era of the internet so I attended all of my classes live. I’ll bookmark this page and check back to see if my comments will be of any help. As to slogging through, well sometimes you just have to do that.

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