Continuing my documentation of seminary,* this is a remembrance of Semester 2. (Semester 1 overview is here.) The YouTube video is shorter and what follows below are the major highlights that happened for me since the end of the Spring Semester through the end of my Summer Semester. The Fall semester (Semester 3 for me) officially started YESTERDAY, but TODAY MY classes start at 9:30am so I’ll need to record the video for this blog and publish this post from school after I make the drive north to the Waco campus. (Talk about LAST MINUTE!! #selfimposeddeadline) If you’d like to keep in touch with what I’m up to and to read/watch my life posts along the way, you can follow me on Instagram and/or Facebook at @SejanaShines, where I post more regularly. You can also subscribe to this blog for major updates at www.sejanashines.com . I appreciate thoughtful conversation with others where we can each listen to one another and learn from one another, especially as it relates to faith, life, and art! So, welcome! Reach out or comment and let’s chat!
In this video I talk about:
- Thanking God
- Summary of classes taken
- Looking ahead
Thanking God – Several Praises for this (second) Semester
There is so much to remember! I am writing many of these down because years later, I may forget all the things that God has done for me and our family through this journey.
- Payment for the competitive scholarship actually went through starting this summer and I paid $0 for my summer tuition!
- I chose to take online courses which is great because I travelled this summer. I wanted to take the 2 week full time M-F course as well but my husband said to wait for another time on that. Taking classes over the summer, I learned, meant I always had coursework looming in the back of my mind so I couldn’t completely relax. That’s the reality I will keep in mind next summer when registering for classes.
- In travelling, I listened to my friends and family in other spaces sharing differing views and concerns about health, jobs, racism, and the state of the United States as I heard strong opposing views, I wondered how I would be a better minister to people. I think about what God was showing me.
- Preached three times this semester (pulpit supply).
- Interviewed for two positions which helped me to clarify my purpose and the direction I sensed God leading me. I wrote a blog about one of those experiences here.
- Visited five new churches in search of a new church home where I could practice formal ministry or at least see how other churches gathered and expressed worship of God together.
- Gathered twice with some ladies from Seminary for a meal and conversation. We haven’t all had a class together yet and they aren’t listed in my class rosters for the Fall semester either, but we are being intentional about staying in touch and planning a monthly meal (this summer).
- Led PWOC Fort Hood praise and worship for their closing/installation ceremony (here), read a portion of scripture for worship for the Baptist Women in Ministry (BWIM) 2021 Annual Gathering (here), started a weekly ‘book club’ thoughtful discussion with a few friends in different spaces about Beth Allison Barr’s “The Making of Biblical Womanhood: How the Subjugation of Women Became Gospel Truth (here), and kicked off the two-year mentoring cohort as a mentee through BWIM (here). I accepted the invitation to be the Truett Women in Ministry (TWIM) Team Leader this school year and we have already begun meeting and praying about what God wants for us to do this year for our George W. Truett Theological Seminary students and community.
- Received a surprise blessing from someone I never met that followed my blog. (video here)
Summary of Classes Taken – Seminary Semester 2 (Summer Semester)
- Christian Scriptures 1. A closer look in community at the books of Genesis through Nehemiah (skipped Ruth, 1 & 2 Chronicles to be covered in a subsequent course). Included the historical and cultural settings as well as a critical look at the text. What I appreciated most: learning from the lens of an African American Old Testament scholar a broadened view of some of the stories from the Pentateuch and Historical books, along with the inclusion of other voices through commentary. I have a expanded view of the Scriptures regarding culture, race, gender, history, and leadership. Also we chose the format for the delivery of our work for the course and I’m still most excited about creating and presenting 3 preaching recordings to my class- two are here and here.
- Christian Worship. Deeper than what might have first come to mind, we read and talked about the formation of people, the practice of worship in free church and liturgical traditions, and the incorporation for all different kinds of methods for planning and leading Christian worship in the local church. Top things I learned are: using lay persons in the planning and leading of the worship service, the work of the Holy Spirit even in the planning, the idea of all parts of the service coming together for a united message, and the incorporation of art- how and why to do it.
Looking ahead, I want to keep these things in mind:
- I can’t control my future as hard as I strive and try. Only God knows the plans for me BUT what I can certainly do is do my best with what I’ve been given (and what I have taken on).
- rigorous Fall schedule will be crazy taking on 14 credit hours
- my family (husband still serving in military, son is now a freshman in high school, daughter is in her last grade of middle school)
- keep up with supportive friends and family. Pray for them as they pray for me during this time.
- look out for up and coming leaders and be available to them to listen and give input as I am able.
- Don’t neglect my personal time with God. I’ll have a ton of assignments all related to God but let me not forget to BE with God ESPECIALLY as it gets super busy.
- Trying to get to that goal of doing ALL or almost all of my required classwork during the weekday, in order to leave Saturday as a free day for rest and Sunday for corporate worship at church and family time with family at home. That’s my goal that I’m striving for- I haven’t perfected that rhythm just yet. In order to make it, I have to guard my commitments for this season. It’s not FOREVER, Sejana!! Just for right now and this season. The Fall semester ends 16 December; Lord help me get a healthy rhythm and consistency rooted in You going!
- Maintaining my physical health means walking around during the day (probably listening to my required reading- this semester I started ordering my books on Kindle), turning my phone and alerts off so I don’t get behind and go to bed at a decent hour, and doing other inspiring or lifegiving things for me on a regular basis . (Maybe watercolor, walking outside and looking at nature, playing cards with the ladies…)
I hope and expect to keep doing these Seminary updates at least one per Semester at a minimum throughout my Master of Divinity (MDiv) journey.* I remember looking online and didn’t find anything like this when I was searching for which school to attend and to get a sense of what going to Seminary would be like. Perhaps this might be helpful for you in some way or have been following and praying for my family and I. Reach out to me however you like and if you have thoughts to share that others might benefit from reading, be sure to comment on my post.
* Note- everything shared here regarding my experience at Seminary are my own thoughts and views documented and recorded (without compensation from Truett Seminary or Baylor University) for the purpose of helping others who might wonder what going to Seminary is like. It’s also for myself to remember the steps taken throughout this journey. I have had a positive experience thus far at George W. Truett Theological Seminary and if you know me or have taken a look around my blog, you’ll see that I share about a variety of things here for the purpose of helping to equip and encourage others in their journey with God. Again, feel free to reach out to me with comments or questions or just add your thoughts here!.