Sep 30 2011

The Seminarians’ Prayer

God,

We think about you all the time.

We think about people who think about you and think about what they wrote about you. And then we write about them.

And yet sometimes, God, we cannot find you even in our thoughts. Our minds do feel like a labyrinth in which we have gotten lost and Scripture feels too much like the bricks blocking the exit than the string that guides us out.

And so we grow tired of thinking.

We talk about you all the time.  We throw your name around like we own it. We hide our confusion about you into declarative statements, saying that we know you are like this and we know you wouldn’t do that.

But we don’t know.

We don’t know you, at least not as much as we would we like.

Forgive us our hubris and our eagerness to talk about you which so often exceeds our desire to listen to you. It’s just so much easier to talk about you than to say it to your face.

But, God, we remember that you called us here, though there are days when this ivory tower looks nothing like your Kingdom and we certainly don’t look like we belong within it.

Remind us, God, that appearances can be deceiving,  that grades do not measure our worth.

God, we want to fight for justice, to stand for mercy, to love our enemies. But also, we want to take a nap, spend an evening alone with our families, and go to bed not worried about books still unread on our night table.

You said once that to follow you, there were crosses we had to carry. We know this small academic cross is tiny compared to the one you carried once, but some days we can hardly even drag it behind us, let alone pick it up.

But thankfully, You also said once that those who are weary should come to you. So here we are.

Because to whom else could we go?

Because at the end of the day, there is no one else that we would rather think about.

- Jennifer Wyant

Jennifer is a 2nd year MDiv student from Atlanta, GA and a Student Ambassador.


Sep 28 2011

A call to be MORE

A child of activists, I am learning to embrace the spirit of protest pumping through my veins. I am no Malcolm, neither am I Martin. I am not Fannie Lou, nor am I Diane Nash. I read and write, but I am more than a scholar. I preach and teach, but that’s only part of it all. I am finding my voice as a frustrated mystic. Unsettled by the pain of the world, yet unable to remove myself from it. Humbled, I internalize and process the toxins of others as a daily prayer. In grace, I am cleansed. In the silence of the mind, I am discovering peace and protest. In the solitude of the heart, I find rest and revolution. In the frenzy of life and in the shadow of death, I sought the still moment. In it I found that God desires MORE.

I am MORE.
You are MORE.
We are MORE.
MindfulOutreachRestores&Empowers
deficit thinking yields deficient results.
So, be more.
MORE to come.

I offer this reflection and poem as a call to activist-minded folk who are seeking to find their voice and discover a MORE thoughtful way of being in the world.  I stress being more and not doing more for a reason.  If you are, it will guide what you do.  But what you do, does not predetermine who you are.

Dr. Gregory Ellison II

Dr. Ellison is Assistant Professor of Pastoral Care and Counseling at Candler.  His research examines the intersections of pastoral care, personality development, theologies of hope, and marginalized populations. His book-in-progress is a revision of his dissertation, The Unacknowledged Self: A Pastoral Theological Response to Muteness and Invisibility in African American Young Men. His current project is based on his years of counseling youth and young adults transitioning out of correctional facilities.  In 2011, Dr. Ellison received the Candler Faculty Award as voted on by Candler’s student body. Professor Ellison is an ordained Baptist minister.


Sep 9 2011

Higher

As we begin another year at Candler and welcome 177 new students to this incredible community, a few second year students offer this deep reflection.

- Patrick Littlefield, Kristoffer Park, & Alex Thompson