This particular post is going to get a bit rant-y, so if you’re not looking for that vibe, move along.
If you feel targeted by this post, then perhaps you are part of the problem, but trust me, there’s more than one person that has caused this.
Ok, commencing rant:
I am me. I don’t try to hide who I am or what I like or what I am passionate about. You get all of me, or you get none of me. It’s your choice and you needed to make it awhile ago. There are things that I am passionate about that you are not going to agree with. That’s fine! I don’t want all like minded friends and colleagues. I am in absolutely the wrong field if that’s what I need. I am going to get excited about things that you are not excited about, and the opposite is bound to occur as well. That is a good thing. A close friend of mine, I’ll call him Wash(from Firefly), said recently that the beautiful thing about friendship is that you get to lift up the things that your friends are excited about, even if independent of that friend that thing doesn’t excite you. He is absolutely right and he is wonderful about it! When Sporting KC won the MLS Cup last weekend, he was excited about it, because it made me happy. More of the people in my life need to take a lesson from his handbook.
Some of the things I get excited about you may think are childish or immature. Guess what. I don’t care what you think about it. I like, nay, I LOVE British television! I have a particular affinity for Doctor Who. I get really excited about Doctor Who. You might be wondering why and I will tell you. One, because I have been watching sci-fi and fantasy movies and tv, and reading sci-fi and fantasy books, my entire life. This is something that my parents, particularly my dad, were passionate about. I have been watching Doctor Who for the vast majority of my life. I grew up with Star Trek and Star Wars and Babylon 5 and Buffy and Angel and on and on and on. I have witnessed and participated in more games of Dungeons and Dragons then I ever care to try to count. My dad used to read The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings to us before bed and I have a knowledge of the Marvel universe to rival that of any nerd. These things are an essential piece of my personality, because they have made up key moments of my formation.
Soccer has also made up a huge part of my life. I was on my first team when I was four years old! All of my siblings have and do play soccer. My dad played on an adult team for much of my childhood. I have watching Sporting KC go from being The Wizards to the glory that they are now. I have watched them play games in every jersey that they have had. My first Wizards game wasn’t long after the team’s first game. Even more than sci-fi and fantasy, soccer is something that brings my family together. It may well be the one and only thing that we can agree on. It is the only thing that I can think of that we all are passionate about. And you haven’t seen passion until you’ve seen my dad and BigSis at a soccer game.
These are things I get excited about. These are things I rely on when I need a break from reality. Because, folks, often times reality sucks. Life is hard and it is painful and sometimes I need to shut my brain off. If you are at all connected to me, in real life or online, you will hear me talk about these things at great length and you need to be ok with that, or you need to find a new friend. This is me, but it is far from all of me. If you go to my Facebook, you are sure to see far more of my passion for social justice and the desire to spread love and charity than you will of anything else. I post, almost daily, videos and articles from Upworthy, HuffPost, and countless others. So I’m sorry if you think my use of social media puts out an immature image of myself and I’m sorry if you have a vision of seminary students that only get excited about Biblical scholarship and what Augustine had to say about how the world does and should work, but that isn’t reality.
Trust me when I say that we need a break from that reality. We spend at least 3/4 of our time every day thinking about and talking about really heavy stuff. The reason I can’t sleep at night is because I can’t stop thinking about how it is our, my, responsibility to feed the hungry and clothe the poor. Most meals turn into theological discussions and sometimes the only way I can prepare for class is to not think about class. Seminarians are fun and we are lively and we get excited about a broad range of things, so if you think that there is something out there that seminarians don’t do or don’t say, I guarantee you are wrong. We are people. We are human. We have the same desires as everyone else. There is representation on my campus alone for every kind of funny bone imaginable, yes, even seminarians laugh at dirty jokes.
So please, PLEASE, hold you lectures about how I need to be on Facebook less or how I need to appear more professional online, because I am not going to feed future colleagues a load of crap about my personality. This is who you get and if they don’t like it, then I don’t want to work with them anyway! I will NOT stop having an online presence, because online is where young people are. I won’t be relevant to the Facebook and Twitter and YouTube and Tumblr generation if I don’t have a Facebook and Twitter and YouTube and Tumblr account! If you think that the only way to prepare for ministry is to have my head in a book and to button the collar of my button down shirt then I don’t want to do ministry your way! And if that means I have to reinvent ministry, then that’s what I’ll do. Because this is what you get, all of me, and some day someone is going to be DAMN glad to have me, because I am going to change lives. My love of science-fiction and TLOR and soccer and social justice and human rights and rom-coms and art and poetry and books and water balloon fights and snowball fights and boardgames and every other thing that I am, have been, and will be passionate and excited about will change lives.
I will not change for you or for anyone else.