Well, it is official. On Saturday, May 5, 2007 I received my Master of Divinity degree from Harding University Graduate School of Religion (HUGSR) in Memphis, TN.
For those of you who know anything about the Master of Divinity degree… The eternal program is no longer eternal. However, I did take classes in all fields of theology, Bible, missions, and ministry. I guess that makes me a “jack of all trades, master of none.” At least that is how I feel.
All kidding aside, I am glad that it is over and done with. Yet, I would do it all over again if I could go back in time. As I was finishing undergraduate school, I was dead set on attending Abilene Christian University Graduate School of Theology (ACUGST). I also briefly looked into Fuller Seminary and Cincinnati Bible Seminary. But only seriously pursued ACUGST and HUGSR.
For reasons I won’t go into now (nothing bad), I wound up choosing HUGSR. I have no regrets about this choice. HUGSR is a whole different atmosphere than Harding University in Searcy, AR even though they are both under the same leadership. As they say at HUGSR, there is a mighty big river between Memphis and Searcy. AT HUGSR I was challenged to grow in my faith both spiritually and theologically, I was challenged academically while always being encouraged to think for myself, and always reminded that true Christian faith is exhibited in the humble service to God and others.
I am sure that the above description could be said about any of the seminaries I looked into. But there is one other reason I am greatful to HUGSR. Three weeks before begining graduate studies, my son, Kenny, passed away. A year later my younger brother also passed away. By this time, I was emotionally and spiritually shattered. While I never intellectually stopped believeing in God, I think I was on the brink of emotionally and spiritually loosing my faith. There are too many events that took place at HUGSR through which God worked through to rebuild my faith, but I will forever me greatful to one of the yearly themes “Spiritual Transformation.” Through several speakers and chapel devotionals (which I attended regularly)based upon that theme coupled with what I was learning in classes, I began to see how God was working for his redemptive purposes even in a world where so much suffering and pain exists. The end result was that I learned to trust in God once again even though I did not have all of the answers to every real life question (and still don’t).
Thank you HUGSR. Thank you to all of my professors, the staff, and my fellow students, who all made my experience over the last four years an unforgettable time that shattered all previous expectations.