A question about theological education

If we already have more pastors than we know what to do with, and if the infastructure of the denominational institution is being reduced every year, is it practical, desirable, and beneficial to say “We want what we’ve been getting, but cheaper and better”?

I don’t think it is.

(Inspired by Seth Godin and his new book STOP STEALING DREAMS)

9 thoughts on “A question about theological education”

  1. I agree Landon. Some denominations “fence” the seminary; are we ready to do that? How will our seminaries survive? I didn’t find “Stop Stealng Dreams” on Amazon.

  2. I’m hoping that some seminaries will ease up on the theological gymnastics and turn out a few more theologians who can actually lead someone into a profound relationship with Christ.

    There is a middle ground between Žižek and Swaggart. And it isn’t the hipster generations that have been turned out in recent decades (including my own). “I only read the non-canonical gospels. You’ve probably never heard of them.”

    A few seminaries should be fenced. The idea of seminaries is to care for the seminal ideas of Christianity. Instead, we injected the publish or perish mindset that demands that no ideas be reused. That’s the exact opposite, and the results are pretty appalling.

  3. Does the seminary serve the church or does the church serve the seminary? For seminaries to stay open they need new and more students. I once asked one of our seminaries if it were an ecumenically open Presbyterian seminary, or an ecumenical seminary with a Presbyterian history. Once we quit providing a significant source of funding to the seminaries we essentially told them, “Live or die by whatever means you can.”

    We ask our seminaries to do far more than possible and to do it in a way which will not put an undue strain on the finances of the students. We are not at all clear on what we want our seminaries to be or how we can help them become that.

  4. Many THINGS get cheaper and better: digital cameras, CD players, LCD TVs, computers. I am not sure, however, that RELATIONSHIP can get cheaper and better. And I take doing church to be making relationship. [I could have said I take doing church to be making love, but that might be confusing to some readers]. How we do church can get cheaper. The church I go to is, in its building, converting its kitchen to a food pantry. It already has a food pantry, but demand for its services are outgrowing its space. In the 60s and 70s, people used the church kitchen and “fellowship hall” for wedding receptions and banquets. We don’t do that any more. The kitchen became wasted space. Get rid of it, save on insurance, turn it into churching the hungry community. Another example: a 100 year old church building where I went to church in a previous city where I lived burnt to the ground. Upon getting its insurance settlement, they had decisions to make regarding a rebuild. No organ, no choir robes, no hymnals, all of which would have been anathema to that congregation the year before the fire. Instead, they invested in enlarging its after school snack and tutoring program.

  5. Seminaries are an expression of the Body of Christ just as congregations are. If the denomination is in decline, the seminaries are too. This cannot be surprising news to all the people in the pews who stopped giving to seminaries 20+ years ago when their own budgets started getting tight.

    Every institution is a tool with a purpose. Congregation. Seminary. It doesn’t matter, really….though we tend to forget that seminaries are as much a part of the Church as the congregation.

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