Graduating from the MDiv program to pursue aThM degree is further training and development like adding another course to the MDiv meal. When I graduated from the MDiv program last May I was elated, eagerly expecting God to open a door for ministry when I woke up the next day. No more exams, no more classes, no more Greek, no more late nights of study brought extra joy. Sleep was so precious and refreshing, bringing home the reality that what I accomplished in 103 credits, over 10,000 sleepless hours, and over four years was not only insane but a wondrous testimony of God’s grace.
But graduation was just the beginning. I stepped from one arena of study to another: the Masters of Theology program. I sensed God nudging me to deeper theological understanding so that I could add depth to sermons and “break it down” at the grassroots level. I still remember the vision I had earlier in the year of being on a step ladder leaning on book shelves packed with books ascending into the heavens.
In a way that describes my ThM experience so far: off to the library to browse through books for research. It’s quite challenging compared to the MDiv program. Knowing how to research, what and who to research becomes important in a world of much data. Augustine, Bavinck, Berkhof, Horton, Calvin become household names while reading the work of Muller, Plato, and Kant, although quite challenging, adds to one’s academic prowess and span of knowledge. Systematic Theology is my area of concentration and like other ThM students I find joy in doing research in my areas of interest while meeting the standards of the program.
My vocational and academic mentors are always sources of encouragement. Their desserts of “Theology and Ministry” and “Theology and Chocolate” are always good menu choices. I still remain unclear of my path for the future but continue to enjoy seminary life, finding new school friends in an increasingly diverse community and chuckling because we all share a common language in words we hear every day, “Working on a paper!”
By Paula Seales