You've probably heard stories about people who "heard the call of God" and quit their jobs to begin study at a theological college or seminary. They've got a good job, family, and The Mortgage. Well, guess what? I've quit my job and started study at Tabor College, in the Sydney suburb of Miranda. No, I'm not kidding!
First, some basics: It's a Bachelor of Ministry, a University level degree, and I'm studying part-time. At that rate I'm guessing it could take five years to complete. My last day as IT Editor at The Australian Financial Review and Managing Editor of MIS Magazine will be Wednesday 4 April, just before Easter (how symbolic, as one of my colleagues observed. heh.). However, I will also continue to work in the technology media in a freelance and consulting capacity (stay tuned for news...). In short, I'm passionate about pursuing theological study and IT media.
Of course, that's nothing new to people who know me because I've been a Christian since I was 17. But news like this is not something that tends to stay quiet. In fact, I've had two calls from the media this afternoon (The Australian and Computer Daily News) asking me about my story and rumours of my impending departure. I appreciated the interest. But given they are both daily publications that publish tomorrow, I couldn't resist the urge to scoop them. I am still a journalist after all... :)
So what makes someone do something like this? The short answer might sound curiously mystical, but excuse me while I breach normal social protocol and keep talking about faith in a public forum - I'm doing what I believe God is calling me to do. Happy to elaborate in person, but when you get The Call, and you're passionate about what you believe, it's not too hard to follow through. In fact, I'm really excited about the future and what lies ahead. I honestly can't think of anything else I'd rather be doing with my life. If that wasn't the case, I wouldn't be making this sort of decision!
And the response from friends and colleagues has been really encouraging. Virtually without exception, my colleagues were all really positive about the news. It's been really interesting to listen to the different reactions. Some asked if I was a Catholic (no), was I going to be a Priest (no, but possibly a Pastor in the future), and what brand of Christianity was the college (multi-denominational: teachers from Pentecostal, Anglican, Baptist and Church of Christ backgrounds, to name a few). What did I think about Hillsong? (great church, but I go to a different one). One journalist also asked me if the rumour was true that I had accepted a position at a church to become a pastor (no... not yet anyway..).
Now that this is all public, it's possible I could find myself lumped into one or more stereotypical buckets. That's fine, it happens. The only thing I can do is hope people will judge me by my (sometimes imperfect) actions, and I'll continue to do the same.
Oh, and in case you're worried, I'm not about to turn Filtered into a pulpit! I'll resume my regular musings soon enough. Although I must confess, the idea of starting a separate faith-oriented blog has crossed my mind more than a few times... :)