I’m due for a good confession post. It’s been too long, so here we go.
So I’m in seminary. And my particular seminary has a dry policy regarding alcohol, so *no drinks for Ashley* while I’m in session!
I will be honest. I miss really great wine. Okay, fine. I miss what I consider “good” random wine at Trader Joe’s that’s in our grocery budget. OKAY, FINE!…I miss what I consider “okay” random wine at the nearest gas station that fits in our seminary budget.
But I miss the wine all the same.
So in efforts to keep feeling fancy, and to try to cut out Diet Coke (I love the fizz but hate the ingredients!) I just pour myself large, lavish glass of La Croix in our nice wine glasses.
I mean someone needs to use them.
Okay that sounds really bad, but he means it jokingly.
Again, recall #1. I’m in seminary, but not just in seminary. I, for some God-forsaken reason, decided to be SUPER ambitious and take 4 graduate level courses. (Idiot idiot idiot).
Most nights Cole walks in the door from work to a half-crazed, zombie-eyed woman trapped beneath a mountain of theology books, piles of papers, and who knows how many notebooks. Did I mention the out-of-control-Einstein hair frizzing out like a terrified cat? Yes. That would be me in this season of life.
Cole usually walks in, finds me deep in thought while I’m read some old-school theologian, and laughs.
“I swear you’re cheating on me with a bunch of dead guys. It used to be Hemingway or Lewis. Now it’s… what’s this guy’s name?”
I snap out of my trance and look up, noticing for the first time that there’s a person in my house.
A REAL LIVE person!
I leap up, papers and books scaling off of me like they were my second skin. “You’re home!! You won’t believe what I learned from…”
“From a bunch of dead guys.”
He sloughs off his camera gear and arranges it nice and neat like all Type-A, disciplined men do.
I tilt my head and look at his neat little stack. How orderly.
Then I slowly move my gaze behind me at my massive ADD, Type-B (maybe C?), unorganized, mess of a work space on the floor.
Yikes, Ash. You may have an A in Theology but you seriously failed at real life today.
He watches me evaluate the room, for the first time probably all week, and chuckles.
I suddenly become very aware of the ink stains all over my hands and the endless cups of coffee that surround the little nest I’ve built for myself. I feel blood run to my cheeks and they are all of a sudden warm. My cheerful demeanor about all my new theology lessons transforms into an awkward, embarrassed sort of half-grin.
“I…um. I’m going to clean this up, I just..” I look around the room again just to double check. Yep, I did this. Not a toddler. Me.
I continue to stammer. “Um.. may have gotten a little bit lost in my work. I…um…”
I can tell at this point my awkward-guilty face is probably rivaling Jess from New Girl.
Cole’s chuckle turns into a full-scale laugh and he steps over some papers to hug me.
“Alright you get ONE. ONE lesson you learned today. Last time we talked about thi stuff, you went on for 2 hours on some sobe…sola…soder…ology doctrine no one’s ever heard of except seminary people.”
I pull away from his hug enough to look him right in the eyes, furrow my brow, and scorn him.
“It’s soteriology… and it matters a lot! I mean it’s only the study of salvation itself.”
“Is it now? Then I beg your pardon,” he says with one eyebrow up.
“I mean where do we even get that word, salvation? How do we even really understand how it’s achieved? What do other religions say about it? Do they have a version of it? What does—“
His hearty laugh cuts me off mid-rant. “Ashley I know. We talked about all this last week, remember?”
I realize that he was trying to get me all in a fuss, and chuckle a little, too.
“Yes I remember,” I said while scanning the floor. “I seriously need to pick up these papers.”
He leans down and starts gathering the scattered pens. “Here, I’ll help you. So what’s your paper about?”
I pick up the portion I’ve written so far and give it a pitiful once over. I’m nowhere near done. I sigh and try to explain.
“It’s about the biblical tension between God’s sovereign control over all things and human free responsibility over their own actions. If God is in control and responsible for everything, why are humans considered responsible for their decisions? If God determines everything, what choices do humans really have?”
“Right. Good luck with that one,” he quips.
I stack up all the books in a pile almost neat enough for a Type-A. “You asked.”
“Well what have you found out about all of it?” he asks while he gathers the remaining papers and neatly orders them.
“That there are a lot of different theological camps that explain the tension in different ways. I’ve spent the last couple weeks reading Molina; he’s brilliant. And then there’s Plantinga who’s a genius, and then there’s Packer and Craig and Calvin and Luther and…”
“You know what this still sounds like?”
I shut the last notebook and heap it on top of the rest. Finally, the room is somewhat put back together. “What?”
“Like you’re cheating on me with a bunch of dead guys.”
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