Last week I realized that a long ago dream of mine has been fulfilled. I was standing in the front of my parents’ church talking to the pastor about learning the Biblical languages, Seminary and such things. I had just finished another conversation with an elder who owns the only local java joint and WiFi hub. (I’m in touch with that place!) He likes talking with me about the rapture, Revelation (the book) and America’s military exploits done in the name of the Lord. Suddenly it dawned on me as I stood there in that little country church. My dream has been fulfilled. A couple Sunday’s before that, I had gone to church at the Amish-Mennonite church of my childhood with my English friend. (Wow, did we get looked over!) They had a guest speaker there that day, who is a part of a higher education initiative amongst the conservative Mennonites called FaithBuilders. I was surprised, when after the service, the speaker pointedly came over to greet my friend and I. Somehow, I ended up telling him that I had just recently received my MATS and that I work at a Seminary. With numerous onlookers, we discussed higher education, how to navigate the myriad of information in the various disciplines. He dutifully broke off our conversation each time his host shuttled him off to meet this or that person or talk about this or that engagement. But somehow we kept bumping back into each other to continue shop talk.
When I was young, I used to long to be able to converse with the pastors who seemed at that time to know so much about faith and the scriptures and the church. Usually, no women I knew would ever be involved in those conversations but it didn’t matter to me, I wanted to talk about faith and the Spirit and God and Jesus’ sacrifice. I think I made myself an annoyance in Sunday School asking probing questions and bringing up complicated ethical scenarios. But I longed to participate in the circle of pastors and teachers. I used to read, from Luke, the story of Jesus getting lost in the temple at the yearly Passover his parents took him to. Jesus’ parents then find him in the temple courts sitting among the teachers listening to them and asking them questions. I was like 13-15. I used to read this story and cry, having no idea why it drew me, nor how one could go about getting such a thing. I just knew I wanted it.