I have to preach in my Homiletics (preaching) class today. We are supposed to memorize our sermons. As a result of that expectation, I have spent far too much time attempting to accomplish the impossible at the expense of other work. I appreciate that reading or even glancng at one's text too frequently is an unfortunate substitute for real preaching but ~ our gifts do vary. I have tried working from an outline, but I forget a different chunk each time I try. And now, having been through the thing some 40-50 times, I have lost all sense of spontaneity and pleasure in it. As is so often the case at this stage of life, I have to accomodate the expectations of others and simultaneously translate them into something realistic and appropriate to who I am.
Which brings me to my general sigh about my seminary experience. I have had some wonderful educational opportunites here, but it is definitely a place for a younger and more conservative crowd. There are rigidities in place which work well for young people whose lives demand little else in the way of responsibility, and not much recognition that those of us with other demands in our lives also bring other gifts to the table. The theological perspective across the board? ~ I am told by many of the younger folks that it's middle-of-the-road, but from where I sit: hardly. A friend mentioned a few weeks ago that it can be necessary for (ahem) "older" students to feel that we have to shrink ourselves in a multitude of ways in order to make it through, which I found to be an apt description. It's too bad ~ I remember law school as a time of growth and expansiveness, rather than limitation and diminishment. I'm not sure how much of that is due to the different view which life experience brings with it, but I had hoped for the opposite here.
On the plus side, I am auditing Christology (yes, the subject against which I railed last quarter) with a professor new to the school, and the experience is a dramatically different one. Perhaps I am intrigued by theology, after all. (I had concluded that it was not for me.)
And . . . the fabulous intership I had planned for this year, destroyed by our son's death, is not an opportunity available to me again, so I am also having to spend an inordinate amount of time coming up with an alternative. I should be finishing my essays for the next stage in the ordination process, but I am spending the time allocated for that on phone calls and emails and interviews that go nowhere. Without the required field ed position next year (my last), there is no point in returning ~ a reality which is having a profoundly negative effect on my motivation in general.
And so am I responding to all of this in a productive and useful way? I think not! I am blogging!
I am going out for a walk and yet another run-through of the now-dreaded sermon. At least it's a beautiful morning.