This past weekend Pam, Noah, and I traveled to New Orleans for my D.Min graduation from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary (Adam had finals so he couldn’t go). I wrote a few years ago concerning my struggles with going after a D.Min rather than a Ph.D. Basically, I can be a prideful person and my pride was getting in the way of me using an opportunity that was before me. My problem with a D.Min was that I have known some not very intellectual bozos who have D.Min’s from various institutions and I have seen some D.Min projects/dissertations that I was sure weren’t doctorate level work. You see my pride here! I want people to look at my work and be impressed and thereby I started judging other’s work. My worst judgement is usually directed at my brothers and sisters in my own calling of being a minister. It is quite possibly my biggest sin that I can be so generous to so many that are very different from me and the least generous to those that I have the most in common with.
Anyhow when I listened to Pam and kicked my pride to the curb (it is usually best when I listen to her) I found a wonderful experience that challenged me quite a bit. I am proud of so much of the work I did within my D.Min – there is only one seminar that I regret taking. The seminars I took on Jeremiah and Marriage & Family counseling regularly impact what I do and think and the independent study I did on Jurgen Moltmann’s theology of the Trinity is continually shaping how I lead Tapestry. I think I was most proud this weekend when two people responded to my doctoral project. These people are Dr. Lemke and Pam. I’ll start with Dr. Lemke, who is the least important of the two.
I begged Dr. Lemke to be my faculty mentor knowing that as the Provost of the Seminary the chances weren’t that great that he would be able to do agree to the task. Still I asked because he had been one of the professors that I most respected from my M.Div from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and as he was Provost of the seminary I was pretty sure that if he was satisfied with my project then everyone else would be. After graduation I went to thank him and give him some cheese from Wisconsin State Dairy Cheese Co. (our personal favorite cheese in the area). When I thanked him he stopped me in front of Dr. Kelly (the president of the seminary) and told me that I should be very proud of the work that I had done on the project. He said it was good enough research that he actually enjoyed being a part of it. That meant a lot to me.
What meant even more to me was what Pam said about my project. I hope she realizes how important it is to me to impress her. My wife truly is one of the most amazing people I know. Not only is she an amazingly godly woman, wife, and mother but she is also one of the smartest people I have ever been around. Her work is amazing to me and she challenges me more than I can adequately describe. So when she said that she could take my project and do an educational study with it (she had a fancy name for this like SOPA or something but i don’t remember what it was for sure) that meant the world to me. The fact that Pam considered my study something good enough for her to possibly do something with is quite possibly the highest praise I could have received.
A few (very few) people have asked if my paper will be viewable anywhere. I am posting what I consider the most readable part here. This part is the basic evaluation of the project and those the most important part. The remaining 158 pages are just setup and proofs for what was written in these 31 pages.