Back in 2002, Deb and I took a long hike in Colorado and discussed a crazy notion that was just beginning to dawn on me. Prompted by some friends, I was wondering about getting a Ph.D. I thought that train had left the station years back, and at my age and stage - well, it was too crazy. Well, maybe it wasn't so crazy. Was it crazy?
In the months that followed, we found we could not ignore the nudgings. They seemed kind of, well, divine. So we committed to everything it would mean to travel this road, including a two-year sojourn in California and other related adventures.
But all along, there have been many moments of wondering "Am I SURE this is the right thing??" These moments did tend to occur just before major papers were due or major bills needed to be paid. Always (eventually) I would return to the need to trust that this was right, that I hadn't mis-read the signs, and that it would make sense in the end. And often enough there was a remarkably well-timed affirmation that would make me feel dopey for having had those doubts in the first place.
Which brings us to today. Since moving back to Grand Rapids, I've been doing a bit of adjunct teaching here and there, writing and preaching, doing research, planning and leading worship. Oh and of course, there's that one big paper I still have to write. And while all this keeps me from robbing liquor stores to pay the bills or squandering my freetime on too much frivolity, it hardly seems like God would send us down this Ph.D. road so I could end up patching a professional life together from such bits and pieces.
Today, however, I feel as if things are starting to make sense. I am glad and grateful to announce something that I never imagined or guessed when we started on this journey: I have been appointed Assistant Professor of Preaching and Worship at Western Theological Seminary in Holland, Michigan.
I've taught several classes there already and it feels right to be at an RCA school, among my peeps, my tribe. I'm thrilled and honored that they're entrusting the covenant youth bound for their pulpits to my care.
But now I'm beginning to wonder if they're thinking: is this crazy? not too crazy, maybe a little bit crazy?