Today was the first day of orientation, which is going to last all week. There's a lot of stuff to know! The ordination process takes an average of 3 years, which should happen concurrently while taking classes and tests for the Masters program. I need to get psych evals, write essays and be interviewed to make sure my theology is up to snuff. I'm currently working on the first phase, which is to become an inquirer, but I keep putting off finishing the essays. I wish I wasn't such a procrastinator.
Lunch came with some eye-opening conversation. Apparently, Santa Barbara Presbytery, the presbytery that I belong to, is super ultra-conservative. Presbyteries are the churches equivalent of states, like Santa Barbara Presbytery = Texas. I guess I was pretty naive this whole time because when I think of Ventura and Santa Barbara Counties, I think of artsy hippie wine drinkers. A couple of my friends were telling me that I might want to try to get ordained in a more liberal presbytery, like San Francisco, but Ventura is where my heart is, and if Santa Barbara Presbytery really is as conservative as they say it is, then I think it's more important for me to try to make things better over there. I know God has put me where I am in order to change things, to make them better. For the past few decades, the church has been hurting itself and the community around it. I was born and raised in the Presbyterian Church; I love this church with every fiber of my being and am proud to call myself a Presbyterian. I realize the fight ahead of me will be hard, but I have a loving family and a wonderful congregation that I'm hoping will stand by my side during this process. I'm not sure why God decided I was the right person to do this, but he did, and if God is for me, who can be against me?
On a lighter note, a bunch of us first-years went to dinner tonight. There was talk of forming a quidditch team... no joke. We had a really great time getting to know each other, and afterwards, one of the girls gave us a tour of Trinity House, the intentional christian living community house. Seven of us ended up on the roof looking up at the stars and listening to the wind blowing through the trees. For a while, I felt like I was on a warped version of MTV's "The Real World." We took seven strangers, put them in seminary...
The minute I stepped out of my car the very first time visiting this school, I knew this is where I was meant to be. I know it won't last forever, but leaving this place is going to be one of the hardest things I will ever have to do.