On Thursday morning I was able to discuss my future plans with Don Saliers, a meeting I wish I would have had months ago. One of the distinct disadvantages of being at St. John's is that Don is probably the only faculty member with any knowledge of the UMC ordination process and requirements and he is only in Minnesota a few months of the years. We looked at some of my goals and interests, chatted about 45 minutes. He not only advised me on a variety of aspects of my studies, he also challenged me to truly define what it is that I want to do with my studies. The later is something I've been struggling a bit with lately. I had initially wanted to get my degree, work towards ordination as a deacon and then work in an area of ministry that dealt with environmental issues and creation care (a term that I'm really beginning to dislike, but that's a topic for another time). However, since I started school, I've learned to love exegetical work and scripture and I'm growing more interested in liturgy as well (sometimes I definitely feel like a kid in a candy store!). That's something that an MDIV or a PhD would be more appropriate for but would require more schooling. What came out of the meeting was certainly a series of more questions but also a game plan. I'm planning on visiting Candler School of Theology at Emory University in March to talk with some UM folks there and get a feel for the ethos of the place. This summer perhaps a trip to St. Paul Seminary in Kansas City for the same. I'm also going to work at developing a relationship with the BOM at the Annual Conference.
All in all a very good week here. It's an interesting journey and I'm glad you're along for the ride.