Thursday, August 23, 2007

"The Seven Woes of the Don" #s 6-7: Double Woe to the Overly Serious

Some will say this is a copout, but I'm lumping my final two woes into one, enormous, "please don't do this," hellfire upon your head, deathly sincere kind of warning: please don't let seminary change you in such a way that you lose your sense of humor and take yourself too seriously.

Most students seem to arrive at TEDS excited about the journey they're about to embark on and excited about being used by God.  Understandably, they want to do well in class and make good grades.

But all too often I see competition, theological differences, and the drive to succeed turn seminary students into old naggy men within a semester.  

As a matter of fact, the pictures at the top of this article are of the same TEDS student: Brandon Jarvis.  The one on the left was taken in August of 2006, the one on the right in December 2006 on the last day of finals.  It's a serious condition.

Just so that we're clear on this, here are some symptoms you should be aware of as they are good indicators of knowing if you've started taking yourself too seriously:
  1. You'd rather parse Greek verbs than have sex with your wife
  2. You sleep with a John Piper book tucked under your pillow
  3. You can't understand why your wife doesn't want to talk about theology every time you have a conversation
  4. You "just don't have time" to ever hang out with friends or family
  5. You think Fake Carson's blog is mean instead of funny
Seriously, folks, don't take yourselves too seriously.  Some of those examples were meant to be a joke, but some are sincere on a level this blog rarely reaches.  I've seen too many students get so wrapped up in their studies that nothing else seemed to matter to them.

Heck, I was almost the same way.  When I was at Cambridge, almost none of my friends thought I'd ever settle down because I was so earnest about academics.  But then I met a wonderful woman and my perspective changed.  Learn from that, folks.

Remember to make time for your families or they'll resent your school work.  Remember that seminary is NOT the end of your calling but a means to put you in the right direction.  Remember that there are many other students on campus who don't believe exactly like you do about every aspect of their theology; and instead of challenging them on every point of difference, remember to listen to them first and foremost.  You might be surprised at what you hear.

Remember that you are blessed to be at this school, but that by your very presence here you are in the midst of people who are hurting, who are searching, and who are very often lonely and far away from the place they call home.  Don't be too caught up in your own studies to be Jesus to them.

And you know what?  Have fun.  Every now and then, take your wife out for a great time.  Get together with some buddies and play video games, or go bowling, or get dressed up and watch a showing of the Rocky Horror Picture Show.

If you're lucky, you just might run into the Don.  I'll be the one dressed like Dr. Frank-N-Furter.

1 comment:

mr. Wolf said...

A much needed reminder. Thanks, Fake Carson. Good article.