My family of three (D, D and I) we believe God speaks to us everyday in the most subtle, sometimes obvious ways. As we were driving a huge u-haul out of the city of Orlando in August, we were crying our eyes out as we left behind my mother, a family, a loving piece of our hearts.
"Was going to New Jersey to attend seminary worth all this anguish?" I thought. With a deep sigh we arrived at that place where sadness is still a burden, but crying is no longer physically possible. A deep silence filled the cabin. I imagined what was going through my children's minds, "Mom is crazy," "How could she do this to us?" I was afraid to ask. But when I was getting ready to doubt, Dysere suddenly broke the silence and said with excitement, "Look! I think God is talking to us." She pointed to a white van next to us on the highway, the cling wrap advertisement read: "Done right. Right now." And with the faith it requires, we received those words on a commercial van, as a divine message of affirmation that brought us peace.
The first semester of seminary is almost over. And I am convinced being here is God's will, at God's perfect time: Kairos! But that it's God's Kairos does not mean, all is sugar and spice and everything nice. The sugar and the spice is that God has reunited us with new family and friends. Awesome people. Blessed people. Words cannot do justice. Except that sometimes I dive into my "outer body experiences" and look around me and wonder, "Heaven will be something like this. God's chosen, God's faithful, God's beloved, God's holy, all reunited. A place of peace were language, race, ethnicity, background, ideology, christology, history, geography or even our christianity cannot divide us, but make us richer. I am very proud to be amongst those who will be the next generation of the most influential world transforming Christian leaders. I see it. I believe it!
All may not seem nice to my mentors and friends who knew me before seminary, when I share how my world view and my christianity has changed in the last four months. But I warn you, if God producing change was not nice, then I would have never stopped being an irate atheist. God brought me to Drew because God wanted me to change, to grow.
On Friday was the last class of the Hebrew Bible (HB) course (Old Testament -OT- in the Christian vernacular). This class was most challenging and fun! Fun because I am a huge OT groupie. Challenging because today I am not! (And my mentors gasp!)
I'm not a fan of the HB, as I used to be a groupie of the OT. There is a difference.
As a groupie of the OT, it's significance relied only in the ways it affirmed the beliefs of the New Testament, which undermines the text in it's own virtue. I am now passionate about the Hebrew Bible as the sacred text of a tradition before ours. A collection of world views; of communities that formed their identity as they wrestled with their idea of God, just as we debate and wrestle with it ourselves. If anything, through their eyes, my God is becoming bigger. Major change: I have resolved to refer to it as Hebrew Bible, honoring those voices that still resounded in Jesus' voice and are still resounding today. Nothing OLD about it!
During this process I got angry at God. As we explored authorship of the HB texts, historical backgrounds, analyzed Abraham down to his DNA; Oh Abraham!, I started to question: "Then why preach it?" "What am I doing here?" I see myself as a teacher and preacher to the core, now the foundation of my calling was in shambles. I was angry and God was patient with me. I was angry about seven years sitting in a pew listening to what now seemed to me a huge joke! I felt cheated! But in the process, I felt God's gentle and warm affirmation, that it would all come together in the end. I am still reconciling, so there is a BIG "Under Construction" sign by the demolished building I had constructed. "And all is well." I am enjoying not having absolute answers and the new found freedom in asking our sacred text the hard questions; questions we've been taught to shy away from.
This is God's Kairos for my formation as a pastor, preacher, and teacher, because I am not restricted by the unspoken rules within the structure of a church. I am free to explore, debate, and ponder alongside my Lord, and a community of diverse theologians the Christianity God wants me preach, teach, and explore in a future, I am not concerned with right now.
As for my family, we are happy at Drew. I have seen my girls become best friends and make friends with other SKs (seminary kids). Drew is also a training ground for future PKs (pastor's kids). I have seen them experiment with their faith and I know God is becoming bigger for them as well.
Thank you God, as always in your Kairos all is done right, right now.