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Student Story: Todd Peterson (Certificate of Achievement in Theological Studies [CATS] Connections)

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Todd Peterson
(Certificate of Achievement in Theological Studies [CATS] Connections)

Tood Peterson
"The 'later' I've been looking for"

Like many people who recognize God is calling them to follow, I was adept at listing reasons why it couldn't work right now. Money, time, family, commitments to my local congregation--the list went on and on, and I was able to rest comfortably in the fact that it wasn't me, it was my situation. I would enter seminary when circumstances were right; it would happen "later."

I would like to point to a moment of a bright light and booming voice, but like it so often happens, my decision to pursue seminary happened over time. As I examined what was happening in my life and where God was calling me to be, I realized that my circumstances were always going to make the best time later. There would always be reasons not to study, there would always be demands on my time and resources, and later was always going to be sometime in the future.

I finally decided to approach this as a chance to see how it could work, not to look for reasons why it wouldn't work. It was exciting to see that the obstacles in my path, while challenging, were not insurmountable. As I focused on the possibilities, not the issues, I kept my prayers simple: If God continued to open doors, I would do my best to walk through them. While exploring my options, a friend and current student suggested I look at Bethany. Door after door kept opening, and I was able to move from "probably not" to "well . . . maybe" to "this is it!"

The Connections program at Bethany enables me to learn and grow in the seminary setting while my family and I to continue to be a vital part of each other's lives, our community, and our local congregation. I am already seeing that my spiritual relationships are stronger, my time and priorities are more focused, and instead of taking a break from my ministry, I am finding it enhanced by my growth.

I am challenged, excited, and convinced that this is the "later" I had been looking for all along.


Matt Boersma
Master of Arts

MattMy thesis began its journey while learning Hebrew at the University of Notre Dame, back when I was an employee in the Information Technology department. Among the many Hebrew texts read, it was the Song of Songs in particular that caught my attention. I knew that historically it had been interpreted as an allegorical text exploring God's love of Israel (or the church), but I had not encountered the deeply sensual nature of the images and the erotic tone of the text. Reading through the book, the unabashed sexuality of the words struck me as completely different than how the rest of the Bible treats sex. During the previous semester we had read selections of Ezekiel, where sex and female desire is cast as idolatrous and evil. In the Song, it is unashamed and extolled.