Thursday, August 28, 2008

St. Academius?



Seminary requires an academically hefty load, what with exegesis and history and research and all that. It's also expensive, especially if you're an Episcopalian.

So who is going to Seminary? Who is succeeding in Seminary? If the answer is "rich folks who have a Bachelor's degree and are good at writing analytical research essays on Biblical exegesis," well...

Do we really want a homogeneous presbytery? Jesus' disciples were diverse people from all walks of life. All kinds of different backgrounds, economic statuses, and talents. Fishermen and tax collectors, whew.

I'm not saying our priests shouldn't be well-trained and versed in church history, homiletics, exegesis and all that good stuff. I'm just saying that maybe it's not as important as we think it is. I've met loads of people who have been priests without being ordained, if you know what I mean. (And conversely, we all know clergy who really ought to stick with tax-collecting.)

Who is going to Seminary? Who can go to Seminary? Who succeeds in Seminary? Just some stuff to think about.

6 comments:

Northern Soul said...

I'm going to seminary! But thankfully, here in England the Church pays. Otherwise I most certainly couldn't afford it.

tamie said...

Excellent thoughts! I wish that the people who decide who gets to be priests could read what you write!!

Russ said...

I think all of this points to the question of whether or not being called to ministry necessarily means one is called to THE ministry.

In my life, sure, I'm called to minister. I do think, though, that having one of those little collars -- and all the BS that comes along with it -- could well thwart my ability to serve.

tamie said...

Yeah, I definitely agree about asking ourselves whether we are called to THE ministry just because we are called to ministry (and I think that everyone is called to *some* ministry). And I do think that being edumacated is very important for priests. But is more than one way to skin a cat....um, I mean, educate a priest.

Davis said...

I suspect it's a lot more challenging than just work load and not something to be "entered into lightly or unadvisedly"...

The "process" can be a nightmare and misery - believe me...

Ian said...

Hrmm ... very true. It's also something that's very "WASP" too. Only those from the dominant upper middle class could ever hope to go to seminary. Maybe a new approach needs to be taken.

Episcopal Commissions on Ministry can be rather nasty entities too. Two members of COM have said that I shouldn't go to seminary without the COM's approval.. The big stuff like hermeneutics and exegesis is supposed to be some big secret that will cost you $ 100,000 and four years of your life.

It's ranty, but it's a comment.
Pax Domini!