I meant with my canonically required mentor today.  I like my mentor, which mostly works out well me, as I’d have a mentor anyways.  She asked me if seminary had taught me everything I needed to know.

It’s a tough question to answer.  The answer is always yes and no.

Yes.  Seminary taught me all that it could teach me.  There are only so many answers that can printed on a page or communicated in an exercise.  I worked hard in seminary.  (Which almost none of you know, because this blog didn’t exist in this format back then.)  I sought out practical and class based experiences that I thought would serve me well in practical ministry.  And mostly, I think I was right.  I don’t know, ask me again in another twenty years.

No.  Seminary can’t teach you everything.  The Church is real people and that means real messiness.  Seminary isn’t where I learned how to deal with that.  I learned how to deal with that in the Church, when I looked across the aisle at someone I’d spent the weekend vehemently disagreeing with and realized we both had to go to Communion.  I was young and I figured it out.  So facing it now isn’t that shocking.

I already knew.  The Church is messy.  God loves us.  My job is to communicate the good news and deal with the rest.  I learned how to do that before seminary, but seminary helped.

So did seminary teach me what I needed to know?

I learned good and important things in seminary.  Some of them were on the required course list and some weren’t.  I learned some things before seminary and I’ve learned many things since.  I plan to keep learning.

Yes and no.