As they all seem to be, this particular break is an important one as Learner has several decisions to make:
1) Do they as a family continue trying to raise support (which has dropped significantly in the past three months) in order to remain in seminary full-time? If not, does Learner get a full-time job and continue classes at a much slower pace? And because only full-time students are allowed to live on campus, where do they then live?
2) Does Learner continue to pursue the M.Div degree (3 1/2-4 years) or does he settle for the M.A.T.S. (Arts and Theological Studies), finishing up (most likely) by the end of next summer? The difference in degrees is huge (or at least seems so) in terms of post-seminary opportunties, but so is the cost involved in time, money, and Hebrew.
3) Regarding Hebrew, does Learner make a last-ditch effort to try to salvage the rest of the semester and miraculously pull it out in the end (and it would take a miracle), taking a chance on pulling a decent grade on the final and with much grace from his professor? Or, does he let it go and try again either in the spring or the summer?
Obviously, all of these questions are intricately related: if the M.Div is no longer an option, Hebrew doesn't need to be either (which is part - but not all - of Learner's current lack of motivation to study it). And, if the M.A.T.S. ends up being the way out, being full-time (and thus trying to raise support) doesn't seem quite as necessary either.
Big decisions. In the midst of all this, of course, is the element of calling. What is it that God wants? Learner's best attempt at answering that question falls along these lines:
1) SPIRITUAL DEVELOPMENT OF PEOPLE - Share people’s struggles about the Christian faith and help them reflect on beliefs, concerns, doubts regarding Christian understanding of spiritual dimensions of life.That said, Thanksgiving comes at a good time for Learner and company. They'll get some time on the farm, be with family, and hopefully Learner and the Lord can go for a long walk (or even a couple of them) as he tries to discern what God is saying.
2) TEACHING RESPONSIBILITY - Accept an active teaching role, interpreting and teaching the Scriptures, theological concepts, history of church/current events.
3) ADMINISTRATIVE LEADERSHIP - Accept administrative responsibilities in climate of delegated tasks and shared leadership; others encouraged to use skills.
4) PROCLAMATION OF THE WORD - The word of God is communicated with urgency and conviction, bringing it to bear on the changing needs of individuals, the community, and the world.
5) DISCIPLESHIP TRAINING - Emphasis on training people in basics of spiritual growth to be disciplemakers.
6) ENCOURAGING MINISTRY OF THE LAITY - Creative ideas/directions developed; many with appropriate skills stimulated to become involved in service.
If you pray, do so. And, if you have any thoughts you'd like Learner to consider, email them to me and I'll see that he gets them.
Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.