Out of the Battle into the War Room


Montgomery Hall at the top of San Francisco Theological Seminary in San Anselmo, CA (Marin).

For [a]consider your calling, brethren, that there were not many wise according to [b]the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble; 27 but God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong, 28 and the base things of the world and the despised God has chosen, the things that are not, so that He may nullify the things that are, 29 so that no [c]man may boast before God. 30 But [d]by His doing you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, [e]and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption,” ~1 Co. 1:26-30

This passage is really the one that defines me and always has. True, when we were younger and in a college study and the youth leader was foolish enough to ask the group about “favorite scripture verses” they prolly had it coming when either Mitchell or I would pipe up quite seriously with “1 Chronicles 26:18!” Then the other of us would offer to read it:

“At the Parbar on the west there were four at the highway and two at the Parbar

The meaning of the word “parbar” is unknown – and we of course – knew this quite well. Then the other would say “wow,” and shake his head, “makes you really think doesn’t it?” And the other joining in the serious contemplation of the utter meaninglessness of  the verse would finish “I find that so touching. Let’s move on.”

Of course the Bible Study leader knew we were having them all on…but not much could be done.

It took me time and crushings to learn how to use my gifts , er…appropriately.


1989 at Seminary chapel back door. Look at that mullet!

1989 at Seminary chapel back door. Look at that mullet! Note the “Joker” bolo tie I made.

So things look like they are a go for Seminary at the Graduate Theological Union, via the back door at SFTS in San Anselmo. Do I have enough money? No. Rent is $510; I get $387 General Assistance for being poor. If I spend all of that and raise another $113 a month, then I have food stamps $194 to live off for food each month then need only money for phone and transportation to classes in  Berkeley or to church.

Hey, good enough for Ghandi..good enough for me. Soon I will learn “homespun.”

That will be it. SSI will not be fast tracked after all. I will not get that for 8 months to 2 years if at all. There is no rest for the weary. I have not had a rest or vacation in 15 years.

Please pray. I have to leap on this immediately. The initial fees for enrollment and to pay for transcripts and a background check are around $150 total. I do not have it.

Mt friend Gregor scoffs at me which is his divine right as a skeptic and unbeliever. He wonders how I can believe. I laugh back and  tell him to not do so would be a bit like suddenly becoming a virgin again. “The genie is out of the bottle,” I say. “I’ve already slept with women and already know God. To pretend otherwise would be disingenuous.”

I have no idea if God will come through with financial help for seminary or not. It is HIS deal. If He wants me as a teacher then He will; if not – well then no. I can only apply and do all I can do. Then I have to go and get like straight A’s because nothing short of that will do for me. Some of you have seen me determined in many a situation – how dogged and relentless I can be.

You have never seen me in a library. I am a total animal. I go into Beast Mode.


I love and respect my ex-wife. I encouraged her to attend the GTU because she has a marvelous brain and she had a great interest in theology. To here her tell it she no longer believes in God. She outgrew that in Seminary and this happens on a regular basis at the GTU apparently.

What is I did the whole first year JUST speaking in Sean Connery's voice. Who would know?

What if I did the whole first year JUST speaking in Sean Connery’s voice. Who would know?

I am a deep mix of objective knowledge and research and subjective experiences. Those experiences are, granted, often more overt than most believers ever get to experience.

Why? I have no idea. Truly.

But I do fulfill Paul’s scripture about for three minutes prior to my conversion 39 years and 11 months ago yesterday – I was as dumb as a fence post, foolish morally and directionally, scrawny, fearful and weak in every category except tallness and that just made me an easy target.

Then alone I was visited by God who came into the room with an intense heaviness and wanted me if I would allow (which God took a lot more seriously than I did).

A few minutes later I emerged truly a different person. No longer weak, dumb, or fearful. I never had to much work in school because my brain just took over. I learned to listen well. I still do.

Notice the reason: That no one may boast except in God. Oh! that sounds JUST like us in the American Church!

I do not “profess to be wise” despite my learning and street experience. It has taught me more about what I do not know and cannot perceive and to listen better in the moment. It has taught me to prepare as a man to respond.

What kind of professor will I be? An explorer.  Very much a Dead Poet’s Society meets C.S. Lewis kinda thing. But I can’t boast about my prowess any more than my height. Did I “work” at that?


They have already told me that because of my age I will find it hard to find a teaching job at a college. We’ll see. But if so – why not High school!!?

My time in Oakland is winding down I think. I do believe I will be on campus in San Anselmo by the end of August and start classes Sept. 8.




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