I graduated from Regent University last week with a MA in Practical Theology. I used to tell people it was because I needed the practical help - a veiled reference to my own insecurity in living the Christian life.
The question is "Now What?"
I got an interesting insight into that question from two women - my systematic theology professor Estrelda Alexander and Oprah Winfrey. First Dr. Alexander.
She has degrees from Catholic University (PhD) Wesley Theological Seminary (M Div) Colombia (M.A.) and Howard (B.A.). She is also one of the most down-to-earth people I have ever met. And she is not afraid to tell it like it is. At the commissioning service we had last week, she asked me "so when are you going for your PhD?"
I was stunned. I kind of wanted to bask in the glow of my Masters for a little while before getting back into it. But Dr. A must have been asking for a good reason. She said I could be a good teacher, and that because I understood theology, I could help churches and other Christians avoid mistakes. It was a lot to think about.
Then today I saw Oprah Winfrey addressing Howard University's graduates here in DC. She said to never sell your integrity. To live from your heart, to serve others and to never forget that there are millions who do not have the privilege you do. It was moving, and it was "spiritually-based" - not really a sermon, but drawing from Oprah's religious background.
These two women reminded me of something that John Eldredge wrote in Wild at Heart . The quote went something like this:
"Don't ask what the world needs. Find what makes you truly come alive and go do that. What the world needs is people who are fully alive."
If our lives are part of a greater story - if we don't exist in a vacuum, where we are part of a tapestry and God has a special design for us, how should we live? What should come next?
I look forward to the adventure.