And You’re Not Even My Gifted Child


Those were the words my very own mother, Charlotte the Scar, said upon laying eyes on the form letter that went out to parents when their children made a 4.0 for the quarter. It came the same day my degree arrived (I’m not real committed to pomp and circumstance moments–somebody said I should attend my seminary graduation because it would give me “closure.” I informed them that I’d get plenty of “closure” placing the framed degree on the office wall). I’m pretty sure she was kidding. There possibility she wasn’t remains.

Anyway, I’ve been toying with the idea of going back to school and working on my doctorate. There are two respected seminaries within reasonable driving distance (one in Dallas and one in Ft. Worth–ahh, the benefits of living in Flower Mound). I have a couple of different ways I could go with a thesis–one involving the idea of a converging congregation where there’s an active relational ministry with older/wiser members disciple younger ones, another involving designing a ministry with parents being actively discipled by older couples so they can better place their teens in situations to grow.

I kind of miss the discipline of education rigor. Not to mention the idea of sitting around and getting the intellectual stimulation of interacting with other like-minded peers and how that just keeps things fresh.

I feel like I’m wanting a greater challenge. Not that my current ministry doesn’t have challenges, mind you. I simply feel like it could get more visionary and effective. I loathe using the term, but more innovative and “cutting edge.”

And, yes, the programs at both are designed so as not to take away from you current job. It’d only be two weeks in the summer on campus and then monthly meetings with a lot of research taking place on the way. It’s more or less a 4 year plan. Most take 5.

But, there’s another side of the coin.

The cost. And, is this really the best time with two kids who will be of college-age by the time I’m in the middle of the program?

My ability to romanticize. I mean, they ain’t givin’ those degrees away. Apparently, there’s a lot of work involved. Not digging ditches or such, but the kind of work that involves carrells and late nights at libraries or on-line researching. I didn’t even touch on the time away from my wife. I mean, isn’t the empty nest a good time to focus on each other? It isn’t empty now, but it will be toward the latter end of the program. The early years would involve time away from children. You know, you’re there but you’re not there.

I imagine it would affect current students, too. I mean, with studying to be done I don’t know that I’ll have AS MUCH time to go to their games and events and hang out in coffee shops to chat.

That commute. I used to detest it daily when I was doing it. I’ve minimized that loss of an hour and a half every day, I think.

The weird factor that I’d be going to class where I currently have former students roaming the same halls. For some reason, that seems odd.

So, I’m sitting here feeling like I’ve drawn a line down a legal pad with “pros” underlined at the top left and “cons” underlined at the top right.

Alrighty, patrons. Advice?