Friday, August 10, 2012

I'm in Seminary, but I'm not Crazy!

One of the first questions people ask me when they meet me is, "Why did you move out to Berkeley?  Are you attending CalBerkeley?"

Before I answer, my heart gives a little sigh.  It is as if my soul is saying, "Alright, here comes the first test."  What will this person think once I tell them that I am here to attend a Lutheran seminary? That I will be spending four years of my life studying theology and pastoral care and Lutheran traditions?  Whenever I tell people this, I feel like I want to tack on, "But I'm not crazy!"

I can imagine you readers out there might think, "Stick to your guns, Kaitlin! Be proud of how far you have come!"  I am very proud of who I am, where I am, and what I am doing with my life--but how far can I really go whilst in a casual conversation to explain that society's stereotype of a Christian is very far from who I am as a Lutheran?

This is not something only seminarians struggle with.  How can you get across a message of love, justice, and grace when there is so much hate surrounding the idea of Christianity in our culture?  I think I might be answering my question as I write this, because the reason I am going to seminary is so that as a religious leader, I can continue to provide compassion, intellect, and grace for people who have not found it before in a religious context.

In short, what  I want to say to each person that asks me about where I am in life is, " I attend seminary. I am in training to become a pastor/chaplain.  I can get married and (gasp!) have sex. I can drink alcohol.  I am a person who might stay up too late, make mistakes, make dirty jokes, and dance ridiculously. I am compassionate and want to support people when they are at their lowest moments.  I am logical and enjoy questioning the things that I believe, in order to gain a deeper perspective.  I want to hear your opinion on spirituality and religion, especially if you do not believe anything, because you still have that hunger to belong to something. To believe in something.  I hope you find meaning in your lifetime; any meaning.  I have no agenda but to support people in their struggles with mortality and spirituality."

Think that is too much of a mouthful to say to a stranger you've just met?


  1. I think the last line might be the lead in to your "elevator speech", and having said the rest here, maybe you can print up cards with your blog address and send them to your blog (hee hee!)

    Well done, dear daughter!


    1. These comments show that you are open to hearing others thoughts, challenges and questions. I agree that there is an elevator speech in this blog. Keep speaking your truth! Love ya, MOM

  2. This post especially meant a lot to me because, while this may seem odd, I sometimes feel the exact same thing when I explain to people the reason my girlfriend just moved to California. It's hard to explain the year that went into this decision and the fact that it is your calling. Sadly, a lot of people don't understand it. And despite our nation's supposed Christian background, there seems to be some sort of taboo when it comes to attending seminary, at least in my experience.

  3. Oh Kaitlin, I love everything about you. You should definitely go into that long paragraph with every stranger you meet... I picture you sometimes having to run down the street shouting it as you chase them... But everyone needs a challenge once in a while! But really, I love that you approach everything with such wisdom and kindness and goodheartedness (yes, I've now made that a word). Love all of the blogs! Can't wait to read more about your lovely life in the Gay/Bay (hehe) area!