September 27, 2006

Scarecrow tries Seminary

Posted in fiction, mythology, psychology of religion, theology at 2:16 am by Jerry

Both crow and raven are the mark of the shaman. Their appearance signals a time for exploring and enhancing one’s power. The birds help man to see deeply into the nature of reality and natural law. They permit man to move between realms and pierce illusion. To call upon raven is to ask for the courage to enter the darkness to seek the wisdom of the primal unconscious.- Jessica Dawn Palmer, Animal Wisdom [98-99]

I don’t know exactly when it happened, but I came to the point where I had to give up my Scarecrow ways and pursue that which I fought off daily.

Eventually, I went to bible school and seminary, with high expectations, mind you. I told myself, “I’m going to school to get to know God, not just know about Him.” And I assumed that this principle was, and should be, the professors’ ultimate purpose for teaching us students, too. But I discovered again and again that my professors were not responsible for the growth of my spiritual life — one professor went so far as to say so.

So, I came to a realization that I was to use bible school and seminary for what I could to mature my “relationship” with God. Ironically, it seemed that this pursuit was often in conflict with my studies. I tried to direct my assignments to areas of personal interest, areas where I thought God would prefer to communicate with me, but it was just too difficult.

Somewhere along the way I also started questioning the so-called “knowledge” of God I was learning, realizing “it’s quite possible I’m not even getting to know about God here, either.”

I finally came to the choice — “let go of their assignments or let go of you.” It took awhile, but I made the obvious decision and left seminary before achieving a Master of Divinity degree.

I can’t give you brains, but I can give you a diploma.

– said The Wizard of Oz to Scarecrow

And so my search (and wait) continues — to find (and notice) the great treasure known to some as Wisdom, and others Divine Wisdom.

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6 Comments »

  1. Paul Connors said,

    I quit Bible school for the exact same reason. I felt like my growth was being stunted not improved.

  2. Eric said,

    I am inspired by the process Jerry. My education experience (namely university) was that I was told what to think ABOUT, not HOW to think. It seems through your experience that how to think, for you, came about through a lack of what to think about. It’s the questioning you speak of that eventually led you away from seminary school. Or am I reading this all wrong?
    Anyway, to me, the questions are the journey. They open new ideas and lead to wisdom. Just ask Socrates. Answers are an end unless you can connect it with a question.
    I’ve often thought that maybe, just maybe, if all the answers were given, every single one and it all got stripped away and we confront the end of all knowledge, all information, what might be left would be a question. Maybe THE question. Maybe we’d find that God IS the question.
    Maybe the question is, WHY?

  3. Jerry said,

    Paul,
    I really appreciate hearing from people who understand. Thanks.

    Eric, wow. I really like what you said, too. You’ve definitely hit the nail on the head. I didn’t use the word “journey” (which is strange because I often do) but I think that’s what it was really about. A journey of exploring, questioning, growing, and changing.

    Looking back to those days (about ten years ago) while I wrote this post, revealed to me that I’ve changed alot — and yet, there was a part of me that never changed, riding along throughout the journey. And the journey continues — it’s been quite the ride.

  4. Shuana said,

    Recently our church held a family camp, in which the speaker held a PhD in philosophy, and is highly respected in the academic community. His message was inspiring and encouraging and wise. One woman, with no education beyond high school, commented how surprised she was that this very learned man was asking the same questions about God, and our relationships with God, that she was. I said, “Yes, wisdom comes from God and does not require a degree.” We can attain some degree of wisdom through our quest for knowledge, but knowledge in itself does not beget wisdom. Wisdom is the great equalizer. We find wisdom in children, in the aged, in those who suffer physically, emotionally, and spirituallly in life. We find wisdom among the poor and the rich.

  5. Jerry said,

    Well said, Shauna. That’s one of the reasons why I started working in a nursing home. I’m not sure if it’s a place to settle while on my journey, but pursuing the job certainly was a step I needed to take.

  6. Eric said,

    Further to my last comment, if God is a question, what if we are his/her answer? Begs many more questions…


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