Hi, my name is Ashleigh. I’m a seminary graduate who used to be a high school student.
The High School Seminarian is admittedly an experimental blog (i.e., I don’t entirely know what I’m doing). I don’t work with teenagers, and I am not exactly an expert on the Bible, church history, or theology. I am, however, a Christian who cares about the intellectual and spiritual development of teens and young adults, and as someone with an MA in Theology, I’m not exactly a lay person, either.
When I was in high school, I was curious about everything. While I complained about homework and finals as much as anyone else, I was still a bit of a nerd. I loved AP calculus, read books about education and child development for fun, and joined the ancient Greek club at school. And I had questions about my Christian faith.
Unfortunately, I didn’t always have places to go for answers. My youth group was too large to facilitate close mentoring relationships between teens and adults, and my small group Bible study was led by a woman who was very sweet but a bit of a ditz. My dad clung to very conservative views but lived hypocritically, and my mom, while angelic in her behavior and genuine in her faith, was not particularly interested in discussing theology. My Christian friends told me things like, “You think too much,” and perhaps I did—but knowing that didn’t really help. Looking back, I still feel I had to do a lot of my Christian journeying alone until I got to college.
In college I was blessed with a wonderful community when I joined the InterVarsity Christian Fellowship chapter at the University of North Carolina. There I finally found both intellectual stimulation and much-needed companionship in my walk with God, as well as adults who wanted to invest in students like me. After college, I went to Fuller Theological Seminary where I had the opportunity to further explore my Christian faith from a more academic standpoint. Both of these experiences have been invaluable.
But do stimulating conversations, fascinating books, and real answers to questions about Christianity only come after high school?
I think the answer for too many students is “Yes.”
I want to be a part of changing our answers.
I know this blog won’t be for everyone, but for those in high school—or not—who are curious about theology, I hope this blog can be a starting point for you. Whether you were raised in church like me or have no experience with Christianity whatsoever, I’m excited to hear what you’re asking and thinking. And like I said, this blog is a sort of experiment—so I’ll probably have to do quite a bit of learning from you, as well!