If I do not tell my truth, someone may attempt to rewrite history. There are multiple sides to why I am a seminary dropout and why I may one day drop back in, here is a tidbit.
After months, of “floundering,” I believe it was time to pick another path. I understand my call and know what I walked away from, it is painful, and it hurts beyond measure. I had a wealth of encouragement from pastors, family, friends, mentors, and prayer partners saying stay the course. However, staying the course in a system dominated by familial generations in which breeding and race seem to be precursors for having a respected voice seemed unwise. I am not the daughter or grand-daughter of anyone of denominational significance thus I may always be on the outside. I am not deterred. In the grand scheme of things, I am just taking a more “realistic” approach to what lies ahead, as I live out my life in ministry.
With those thoughts, I dropped out of seminary.
I enjoyed my courses, professors, and course mates. I miss seminary. However, as my husband said, “I need time to recover from the words, mistreatment, and craziness of the past few years.” Unfortunately, seminary coursework does not allow time.
In departing seminary, I found myself on the receiving end of care, the type of care I had not received in my denominational district. As someone who worked with divinity students and offered a listening ear for words of lament, I am appreciative of the excellent care shown by my academic advisor, professor, and other officials I encountered.
There is a piece of me that wholeheartedly desires to finish the degree. If for no other reason than to feed my thirst for knowledge and theological conversation.
I held my initial withdrawal email in draft form from November 4, 2017, because I did not want to send it. My family has invested and sacrificed, and it seems ridiculous to walk away without a degree. And for naysayers who might somehow paint a false narrative of my inability to cut it in seminary, be assured the grade point average is strong.
Alas, I believe there was more integrity in walking away than staying the course and burying my truth. Walking away took the pressure off, it has allowed me to clear my head away from the demands of the next due assignment and the quest for an A/A- because anything less is unacceptable.
I was at a denominational school, and while the seminary had not “harmed” me, I was in a “system” that in my opinion did not value me. I would have been contributing to my abuse, hypocritical and positioning myself to lie to remain without taking the time to rethink end game. I have too much respect for the call to ministry to lie for the approval of others. To say, all is well, just to get along would have been counter to the voice that God has given me. To say all is not well, means I am planted squarely on the outside. For me leaving the ordination process meant I needed to back away from seminary. The school I love feels somehow tainted.
Dan Galloway posted the following on LinkedIn recently, “every exit is an entrance somewhere else,” and “you will be too much for some people, those aren’t your people.”
I may one day choose an entrance to another seminary, hopefully, I will not be too much for the next group.