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I expect I will write a lot of blog posts about this when I do my masters degree recap posts around and after graduation, but I feel like saying a word about the weird phases your spiritual life goes through in divinity school.  I'll put in a disclaimer here that I have only been half in divinity school (as half of my classes have been taken in the English department), and even at that I only really take theology classes that don't have a very strong "seminary" flavor.  But I get a taste of it nonetheless, and it has taken me through some interesting phases in my spiritual life, most of which are going to sound really bad when I write them down.

I have stopped reading the Bible unless it is assigned for homework.  [This week I actually get to read something for homework from the New Testament for the firs time since I have been at Yale (the Gospel of Mark) and I am quite excited about it.  But I don't take Bible classes, so it's my own fault.]  I never casually pick up the Good Book for comfort or nourishment, which has been a long-standing practice of mine, at least since college.

I have gone to church on Sunday morning probably three times since I got to New Haven.  I guess since my whole week is "about religion" I just never joined a church here.  I also have basically stopped praying.  I have been an avid lifetime prayer-journaler (I started doing this regularly at age 12 and have never stopped or even taken a long break), and I never feel the urge to do this.  I never pray with other people either, and that's basically because everyone here has such strong views about everything to do with their religious convictions that it is basically terrifying to always pray in fear of accidental heresy.  I do jump in to say grace with my friends before meals, and I've just decided to be bold about that.  We've had some good friend prayers in the past few weeks, and that has been a lovely return to something wonderful from my evangelical past.

This all sounds terrible.  However, I consider this a time of massive spiritual surgery, and it's almost like I have been down for the count as an active Christian while I've been on the operating table.  I have learned massive, massive concepts about God and scripture and church that will totally change my religious life from this point forward, and I am quite eager to see what happens as I step back into normal life.

It doesn't worry me, though, because I have never been more interested in God.  I am eager to jump back into the practices of the Christian life after this educational experience and see what emerges on the other side.  I have never had a more clearly defined change in "spiritual chapters"than this one, and I bet it will be equally clear when the time is over.  I suppose as we age we are more easily able to take the long view - I am much slower to be alarmed by things because I know they will pass.  I am quite glad to say that the things I have learned at Yale have multiplied my trust in God, which is the greatest gift I could have on the brink of the huge life changes I will go through in the next year.  We shall see what happens!


  1. This time is such a gift to you, Catherine. He built this into the story of your life for a reason. From the outside I will say that none of this looks "bad" by any means... Instead it is amazing to see how He is growing you in an arena OUTSIDE church walls, outside the Bible alone. He is allowing you time to have conversations with the great theologians and authors and poets of the past - conversations entirely about Him. He is not far from any of it! It's like giving someone a new pair of eyes to see something that has been so familiar to them their whole life. Even in the few short hours I spent with you and the Divinity crowd I felt myself on fire for God, just being around you all!

    I can't wait to see the amazing things you do!


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