Today was the first official day of school. And, it wasn’t even school. It was a day of “orientation.” I have a love/hate relationship with the word “orientation.” The definition is so lofty, as if one who is lost in the sea of academia will be pointed in the right direction. Yet, orientation too often refers to a sequence of institutional banalities, dealing with filling out forms, checking boxes, and signing waivers.
My hope was that a Doctor of Ministry program would bypass the preliminary forms, but one can never be sure. So, at 8:00 this morning, I headed to the Beeson Center for orientation. What I found there were God’s blessings. The day was redeemed (not simply spent) with each Beeson Pastor telling her or his story. While most introductions are usually frightful due to their blandness and their obvious lack of depth, I was moved and humbled by the stories that my brothers and sister told. Stories were shared of broken lives that God redeemed, of boundaries that were broken, of family hopes that had been fulfilled through their calling. We shared aspirations for our ministries, love for our families, hope for Christ’s church. At one point, I found myself laughing through tears.
So, what did I learn on my first day of school? I learned that I am incredibly lucky to sit at table with my brothers and sisters in the program. I am humbled by their testimonies.
If humility and submission are the right direction to point in these first steps of the journey, then, I consider myself “oriented.”