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On Learning from the Past
Job 8: 1-22

The other Saturday we were sitting in a restaurant by the ocean, and a woman came to talk to us who is a student at the seminary. This particular beach is an hour away, so I asked her if she lived nearby. She explained that she came here on Saturdays to surf in order to recover from a week of study—I don’t think she used the word recover, but it was some such expression. It left me thinking, “Why does seminary have such a burdening effect on people that they need to recover in that way?” There are a number of possible answers, which differ from seminary to seminary and from individual to individual, but one answer is that seminary makes people question so much of what they have been taught in churches. They have been inducted into a Christian tradition, a way of understanding the nature of Christian faith—in other words, a way of understanding God, the atonement, salvation, Christian life, and prayer. But in seminary they discover that other students and professors have a different understanding. The tradition they had been taught was a proper part of their security, so having it questioned makes for insecurity and perhaps generates the need for surfing (though going surfing is what would make me feel insecure)...

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