Jill is 25 years old, one of the sharpest students to blow through our seminary, and very dedicated to her calling to become a pastor. As she wraps up three years of exemplary work at our school she has begun to look for her first parish assignment, and the interviews have gone well. I’m not surprised.

Her professors and field education supervisors affirm her with praise. But Jill doesn’t have friends on campus. When she eats in the cafeteria she sits at a table in the corner by herself and does homework between bites of a meal she never notices.

After making an appointment to see me and confirming the time, Jill enters my office, drops her backpack on the floor, and sighs. “I have two job offers,” she begins. “They are both for ordained positions at churches. One is in Chicago and the other one is in upstate New York.” She goes on to describe the churches and the positions, which sound remarkably similar. There isn’t a lot of passion in Jill’s speech or countenance. She looks more like a woman lost in a crossword puzzle as one of her hands twirls in her long hair.