Posts Tagged ‘autobiographical’

Last week at the end of our trip to the U.S., Shannon and I had the opportunity to visit Princeton Theological Seminary. Many readers of my blog are already well aware that I’ve been talking about applying to this school for some time, but for those who did not – here’s me going public with our future plans. After our visit, both of us felt sure that PTS is where we want to be for the next three (plus?) years. As this school may very well have a huge impact on the course of my life from here on out (if I’m accepted!), I figured a brief introductory post would be in order.

Princeton Theological Seminary, the oldest Presbyterian seminary in the U.S., is located in New Jersey, about an hour north of Philadelphia in the same town as Princeton University. However, it is and always has been a completely separate institution. Though I (and other folks) will commonly refer to the seminary simply as “Princeton,” it is probably not the Princeton you are thinking of. It’s a common misperception (or at least one recently held by me), that PTS split off from the University at some pont in the past. Not so. Their relationship is only geographical.

When I’ve mentioned Princeton, several friends have asked, sometimes with uneasy concern, “Isn’t it pretty liberal?” (Or as my good friend Kerry said, tongue-not-quite-in-cheek, “You know they don’t believe believe anything there, right?”) Well, first of all, I don’t know. I have liberal friends and aquaintances who seem to think of PTS as conservative. It is a PC(USA) seminary, which is generally a liberal denomination. So if there was some hypothetically objective liberal-conservative theological center point, I suppose Princeton would be to the “left” of it. But second of all, I don’t care. I’m really weary of the liberal-conservative dichotomy. I don’t find thinking that way helpful to faithfully following Jesus. And inasmuch as I feel more and more discouraged when I hear conservative people say the word “liberal” as if it was synonymous with “evil”, I’m inclined to welcome some “liberal” influence in my life.

What I do know is that the PTS grads I’ve personally known (three of them, from three different decades) are thoughtful, intelligent, joyful, fair-minded people who are passionate about following Jesus. (And if matters to you, all theologically conservative too!) Yeah, that’s a pretty small sample set, but Princeton seems to be a place where we would be surrounded by people who are commited to Christ and committed to academic scholarship. I’m excited about that. There’s more I can say about why PTS for us, but that will have to wait for another post.


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Next week I’m attending my twentieth high school reunion. I’m interested to see what this event is like for me. I have many good friends from high school whom I’ve kept in close contact with. These are the guys I’m going back to see. Here are some of them at my wedding ten years ago (Aly, Dylan, me, Bruce, my brother J.J., Kerry and Rob):

I’m curious to see what it will be like reconnecting with other people whom I haven’t kept in touch with. Will it feel odd and uncomfortable? Will it be interesting? Will dormant friendships rekindle? Will I remember anyone? Will they remember me? Will it feel real or artificial? Will it feel like now or like I’m back in high school again? These are the questions that are swirling in the back of my mind. Not the front of my mind though; I’ve been too busy to really think about this trip much.

So one of the things we were supposed to do for this reunion was create a biography / memory page. It was quite a project trying to sum up a little over half my life on one 8.5 by 11 page. And as I did it, I also had to reflect a bit on my motivation for spending so much time trying to “get it right” and make it look good. How much is my pride driving this project? Do I just want to make myself look impressive for a bunch of people I don’t really even know anymore? Shannon wisely reminded me as I agonized with formatting pictures and margins and so on, “All the people who really care already know what’s happened in the last 20 years of your life.” Certainly good counsel. On the other hand, I do look forward to seeing other people’s pages, folks I haven’t seen since 1988, and I do hope that many of them took the time to really effectively give me some sense of where life has taken them these past two decades. So I’m at least telling myself that I really did all this work for them, not for me. You can opine for yourself about that rationale. Anyway, here’s what I came up with (if you find any typos, please don’t tell me):

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