My first class of January term was Liberal Theology. It was a brain heavy intensive class where we started with the roots of Unitarian and liberal theologies and moved into Liberation theology and the Religious Naturalists. I’ll spare you the entire trajectory, but you can look back on my Seminary Shelfie post (as most of the books in that stack were from this class) to get an idea.
This post isn’t about all of that. This is about what happened after that (which I’ve now confirmed is normal and expected). By the end of the week I felt a bit off. The earth itself seemed to be moving around under me and I couldn’t place it. At first I thought it was due to the slippery icy ground where my boots weren’t always getting purchase. Then I noticed that I wasn’t able to make full thoughts. I worried I was getting sick. Thankfully, due to the MLK holiday, we had a three day weekend after that class. By Monday the whole world seemed topsy turvy, but I was able to start articulating what was going on.
I’d become unmoored. It wasn’t a crisis of faith, necessarily, although I heard that’s normal, too.
It’s not that I wasn’t sure what I believed anymore, it was that I was trying to put words to what I believed. This had been an issue for a while as I moved through discernment. Articulating my own theology has always been a struggle for me. This class disconnected those last few ropes I had attached to the dock.
If you’re assuming I’m about to go into full blown explanation about how I got moored again, you’re in the wrong place. Or at least the wrong time. I’m not there yet. I’m just now getting comfortable with the free floating feeling. This post is about how that is okay.
According to my theology professor (who I totally went to all freaked out last Wednesday), this “unmoored” feeling is normal and expected during seminary. And formation. And sometimes after that. A lot of times after that. A lot. For a long time.
So what’s the trick?
Survival. Tread water. Be comfortable with that feeling. Read, study, think, journal, contemplate, read some more, study some more, journal a lot more. Relax.
So expect more on this. I may have a page on here where I start sussing out my own personal theology. Meanwhile, I need to go back to the treading of water for this week.