I can't quite believe it but I am in the last week of my first term at vicar college. I was doing some reading today about education in Ancient Greece and the author described how the program for students involved working both body and mind intensively. With all the cycling up and down the world's largest hill (fact!) and the mind bending demands of the Oxford course I feel like this might have survived a couple of millennia and made its way into the ethos of theological college. Hmmm.......
And what else of these first few months? The study is as cool as I thought it would be, no scrap that, it's cooler. I'm reaching new levels of geeky with each passing week. The topics are fascinating. One minute we're in 13th Century BC on the exodus out of Egypt with Israel (or not, depending on what you make of the research!) and the next we're in the courts of the temple with the Apostle Paul listening to classical rhetoric and the dawning of a new world faith.
College is maddening and brilliant. I'm pretty sure that once the dust settle on this term I'm going to start to realise what has already changed in me. Every week has something new and challenging, whether that is visiting at the hospital or leading a service, reading at church or figuring out the truly mystical inner workings of a church sacristy (the place where they set up all the holy stuff to you and me!).
I am still most definitely an alien on Planet Christian but now I'm in an even stranger place that is Planet Church of England, nay even weirder Planet Theological College! And what a crazy place that has been to be these past few weeks. I'm baffled by something at least once a day (women bishops anyone?!) but then I'm touched by something just as often. I'm learning the art of 'just turning up' when I really don't want to and knowing those moments when like a wink to God, the author of the sense of humour, I can bend the rules a little.
I probably know less now about where I think I'm going than when I started here. I've definitely been drawn to things, sometimes quite brilliantly unexpected things. I've had little hints of where this might all go, what kind of church or community might be the right place for me. What I might be good at and what it might be as well to avoid. But mostly I've learned not to look too far ahead. There really is too much going on today for that and that is pretty darn cool.