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There were some pictures up from the winter banquet at what they’re now calling Moody Theological Seminary. I only knew a few folks, friends who were there when I was there. Most of them were international brothers and sisters of mine. Many of them were wearing clothes from their countries: beautiful scarves, dresses, coats. Moody is where I made most of my international friends. Yes, I remember now.

I wonder, as I think of some of the banquets I (then, reluctantly) attended, how it was that I actually attended that school. Moody’s not a place for people like me, to put it simply. It’s an inside-the-box sort of place for regular kinds of Christians if I could be so drastically un-PC about it. Frankly, I’m out of the box and irregular for my type, my brand, my belief systemgroupcrewteamunit.

While I was there, I wasn’t like my peers. While I was there, I was different.

At Community a few weeks ago, as application of Philippians 1, Ryan thanked God for my authenticity as a sister in Christ. Truer words are infrequently spoken. For his honesty, I also thanked God. My more benign friends would ignore this truth. They’d act like, I don’t know, it’s normal or typical for a Christian to be so inappropriately blunt as I. It’s not. You live your life honestly, Ry said. You bring a dose of reality, a sense of genuine living wherever you go. I admire the way you don’t put on; you live in a very real way. It was something like that and it was a compliment of the greatest variety. I’m thankful on a regular basis for that wiring in me. For this tweakage that makes me so unchristian.

I’m so far astray some days. I’m unlike all the folks I love. It’s puzzling, really. How did I fit in at such a conservative, straight-edge seminary? The teaching was astounding. It wasn’t stoic and closed. It was deeply challenging; it made my brain throb weekly with questions and struggle. It forced me out of the stupid books and into the real world with everything I pretended to believe. It made every minute of my life of working in the restaurant industry worth it, hands down. I sometimes think my Master’s degree was to enhance my work at the restaurant, and maybe that was it. It would be enough.

Can’t quite find the missing puzzle piece here; don’t know how I made it through that place. I was the ugly duckling. I was the odd man out. But that school is truly a place of fresh, honest, truth-teaching. It’s a place of efforts at community. Of trying and good hearts. Of questions and striving. Oh, Moody… We are so paradoxical, you and I.