Author Topic: Megadeth Bassist to be an LCMS pastor thanks to SMP  (Read 15553 times)

Charles_Austin

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Re: Megadeth Bassist to be an LCMS pastor thanks to SMP
« Reply #120 on: January 25, 2012, 05:22:23 PM »
Mr. Gehlhausen writes:
Yeah, you worry that we lose something important by the "alternate tracks."  and yet you have nothing tangible to point toward.

I comment:
Yep. I'm no expert on higher education funding, finances of potential clergy, or denominational budget-making. So when somebody asks "What shall we do about the high cost of seminaries?" I respond, "I don't know."
Don't know what's going to happen to college graduates, either.
I do think we need to be honest in telling seminarians that it's a tough world out there. And as I researched and article I wrote for The Lutheran a couple of years ago, seminary presidents and deans told me they were doing this.
My generation was pretty much guaranteed a small, but stable parish as our first call, and opportunities to continue ministry in secure settings as we advanced in years. Today? Maybe not.
But our members in secular work have no guarantees for their future either. It's certainly true in my other profession: newspaper journalism. When I started, I could get a job at a small paper and then, if I was any good, I could expect to move to larger papers. Today? Maybe not.


pr dtp

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Re: Megadeth Bassist to be an LCMS pastor thanks to SMP
« Reply #121 on: January 25, 2012, 05:42:12 PM »
I've started to chime in two or three times today, but I'm just not sure what to say.  It is a mess.  The Synod doesn't fund the seminaries so they have to get money to operate from somewhere - so that comes from the students borrowing massive amounts of money to give to the Seminaries and then being sent over and over again into parishes where a "living wage" is just not on the table.  It was heart-breaking to read about Pr. Messer's and TV's experiences. 

Endowments are nice, but they (I think) historically come from folks who are alumni, no?  And we sure don't have many millionaire pastors out there. 

Something that hasn't been mentioned but probably should be is that if this is a bad situation for the pastors, it is even worse for the deaconesses.  How often are they the first to be RIFed - and that's only those lucky enough to have gotten calls.  We continue to recruit women - gifted and talented women - for this field of service, but we as a Church body seem at a loss to find places of service for them.  And this is hardly a new problem. 

I think the one thing we'd all agree on is that the status quo is not sustainable.  It makes no sense.  I'm not sold on SMP (meaning absolutely no disrespect to my brothers in office like Padre who entered by alternative routes - I firmly believe that it is call and ordination and NOT seminary education that makes a man a pastor, pure and simple).  I'm not sure that we're actually using it the way it was packaged and sold to the Synod in Convention; in fact, I'm rather certain we are not.  But what on earth is the way forward?


I'm curious - when you say the way it was packaged isn't the same - which promise are you referring to - please be specific as to the document you are quoting from.

I remember a great deal of stress over the idea that bi-vocational associate pastors could be trained this way - and that was on the table with other bi-vocational roles as well.  It caused quite a stir, but it wasn't rejected.  Also - that was back when the tuition was thought to be more affordable through this method.

From what I have heard the two seminary campus are beautiful.  But is the beauty worth the overhead to maintain it?   What percentage of the budgets of the sems could be saved if they were in a large building in an industrial park.  Or the professors were f/t pastors who taught 1-2 course a year? ( For example - guys like William Weedon, or Bill Cwirla or Dr. Benke?)  At what point is protecting the status quo more about protecting one's territory/tradition/alma mater, and less about the delivery of knowledge, spiritual development, and learning to cure souls?  We' didn't always have sems, and we didn't always pull the best and the brightest out of the church to staff them....did we?

swbohler

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Re: Megadeth Bassist to be an LCMS pastor thanks to SMP
« Reply #122 on: January 25, 2012, 06:40:12 PM »
ScottG,

I believe the seminaries require a minimum of 5 years parish experience before calling someone to teach.  At least they did when I was a student, 20+ years ago.

swbohler

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Re: Megadeth Bassist to be an LCMS pastor thanks to SMP
« Reply #123 on: January 25, 2012, 06:57:48 PM »
ScottG,

Really?  I remember when, as a student there, CTS called a man who had less than the 5 years and required him to serve in the parish (along with his seminary teaching duties) to ensure that he had sufficient experience in the field.  Just one more reason Fort Wayne beats St. Louis, I guess! :)

swbohler

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Re: Megadeth Bassist to be an LCMS pastor thanks to SMP
« Reply #124 on: January 25, 2012, 07:35:09 PM »
Dr. Just served as pastor from 1980-1984 (5 years: 1980, 1981, 1982, 1983, 1984) in Connecticut.  Dr. Rast served as pastor in Tennesse from 1992-1996 (5 years: 1992, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996 ).  Dr Peter Scaer was pastor in Indiana from 1996-2000 (5 years: 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000).

Scott6

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Re: Megadeth Bassist to be an LCMS pastor thanks to SMP
« Reply #125 on: January 25, 2012, 07:46:15 PM »
Dr. Just served as pastor from 1980-1984 (5 years: 1980, 1981, 1982, 1983, 1984) in Connecticut.  Dr. Rast served as pastor in Tennesse from 1992-1996 (5 years: 1992, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996 ).  Dr Peter Scaer was pastor in Indiana from 1996-2000 (5 years: 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000).

The numbers only work out that way assuming a Jan 1 start date and a Dec 31 finish date.  I really don't care either way, but it's unlikely that any of these folks served a complete 5 years given the dates you relate.

Dan Fienen

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Re: Megadeth Bassist to be an LCMS pastor thanks to SMP
« Reply #126 on: January 25, 2012, 08:01:14 PM »
Not all theologians are cut out to pastors, and not all pastors are cut out to be theologians, or seminary level teachers.  I ran into a couple both ways over the years.
 
Dan
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peter_speckhard

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Re: Megadeth Bassist to be an LCMS pastor thanks to SMP
« Reply #127 on: January 25, 2012, 10:08:36 PM »
As with most things, you get out of what you put into it. A University of Phoenix online degree might reflect a greater depth of knowledge and understanding than a four year degree at an Ivy League school. Might, but probably doesn't. On one hand, a degree is a degree, on and yes, on paper and sometimes in actual fact an online degree is just as rigorous as a residential degree. But on the other hand, most people will distinguish between a college degree and an online degree. Why? Probably for many and various reasons, but to pretend there is no difference and act shocked and offended that someone would think differently of an online degree than a standard degree is simply disingenuous. If you're ever in need of a doctor or lawyer, you will only go to one who got an online degree if a you can't afford a good one. That's simply a fact. Take it for what it is worth. Not that there aren't good professionals out there who got their degree online, but when you're looking at credentials, an online degree doesn't have nearly as much gravitas.

swbohler

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Re: Megadeth Bassist to be an LCMS pastor thanks to SMP
« Reply #128 on: January 25, 2012, 10:11:37 PM »
I guess Jesus was not dead three days either: only Friday afternoon, Saturday, Sunday morning. 

Charles_Austin

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Re: Megadeth Bassist to be an LCMS pastor thanks to SMP
« Reply #129 on: January 25, 2012, 10:35:19 PM »
Not all seminary professors need extensive parish experience. But those who teach preaching, pastoral care, parish administration and those aspects of ministry need parish experience and a lot of it.
I have heard of one professor teaching preaching who has never had to stand in a parish pulpit week after week, season after season, and deal with preaching that way. That is ridiculous. But I don't care if the person teaching me Greek or exegesis or church history has 10 years of parish experience. I'd rather that person had a quality Ph.D. in their field.
I believe some ELCA seminaries bring in experienced pastors to be "in residence" on the campus for a semester or two and teach from their experience, which might not include the work needed to get an earned doctorate.
I think some retired pastors who have had extensive experiences in parishes might be willing to do that and the seminary wouldn't have to bear the cost of a tenured professor.


Scott6

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Re: Megadeth Bassist to be an LCMS pastor thanks to SMP
« Reply #130 on: January 25, 2012, 10:58:49 PM »
I guess Jesus was not dead three days either: only Friday afternoon, Saturday, Sunday morning.

Right.  I'm sure that follows.  ::)

Mike Gehlhausen

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Re: Megadeth Bassist to be an LCMS pastor thanks to SMP
« Reply #131 on: January 26, 2012, 08:41:20 AM »
Dr. Just served as pastor from 1980-1984 (5 years: 1980, 1981, 1982, 1983, 1984) in Connecticut.  Dr. Rast served as pastor in Tennesse from 1992-1996 (5 years: 1992, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996 ).  Dr Peter Scaer was pastor in Indiana from 1996-2000 (5 years: 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000).

The numbers only work out that way assuming a Jan 1 start date and a Dec 31 finish date.  I really don't care either way, but it's unlikely that any of these folks served a complete 5 years given the dates you relate.

At the very least, such parish experience fades.   For Drs. Just and Rast, we are talking over fifteen years away from parish experience. Now, while it might very well lead to a softer parish experience since parishes might well contend for the honor of having such prestigious pastors serve them, perhaps it might be good to have professors serve a parish for a half-year to a year every ten years or so.   And for some active pastors to perhaps take teaching sabbaticals (I'm thinking this is already being done to some extent.)

Mike

Charles_Austin

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Re: Megadeth Bassist to be an LCMS pastor thanks to SMP
« Reply #132 on: January 26, 2012, 09:06:29 AM »
Mr. Gehlhausen writes:
 For Drs. Just and Rast, we are talking over fifteen years away from parish experience. Now, while it might very well lead to a softer parish experience since parishes might well contend for the honor of having such prestigious pastors serve them,

I muse:
What world do you live in?  How many times have you gone through a call process with a congregation? The last thing congregations look for in their pastor is "prestige" or a reputation as a theologian.

Michael_Rothaar

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Re: Megadeth Bassist to be an LCMS pastor thanks to SMP
« Reply #133 on: January 26, 2012, 01:57:14 PM »
musings:
1. I believe that in England during the time just following Henry VIII, the only requirement for being a priest was the ability to celebrate mass; and there were priests who were essentially illiterate.
I think this was also true at time in the eastern part of the Church, where the function of the priest was only to celebrate the Divine Liturgy.
Such things as preaching, pastoral care, scripture study, etc. were not considered essential.
The situation shifted to the times when, especially among Protestants, the domine, preacher, evangelist, priest, vicar, rector, curate, etc. etc. was expected to be one of the most educated and literate people in the village.

I find it instructive to remember this about Luther:

"The educated members of the [Augustinian monastic] community were priests, or aspiring priests; normally they were ordained within two or three years of joining. When the major reforms of the Catholic Church eventually came, late in the century, they included new regulations for a six-year preparation of men for the priesthood; in Luther’s time preparation was brief. Brother Martin studied an exposition of the Mass by Gabriel Biel – a well-written book, intellectual and inspiring; the author died only twelve years previously. Apart from that, major emphasis was laid on learning the precise detail of the actions of the priest when celebrating Mass, as well as on memorising the text. Then there was some training for preaching, and later for hearing confessions. But the Mass was the heart of a priest’s life. In a few months’ time Martin would be saying Mass at twenty-three years old, still so close to his contemporaries, and yet now so definitely different."
-- Luther: A Life by John M. Todd
Mike Rothaar
Retired from roster of active ELCA pastors 01 Jul 2012.
Mind and Spirit still working.

Dave Benke

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Re: Megadeth Bassist to be an LCMS pastor thanks to SMP
« Reply #134 on: January 26, 2012, 02:04:02 PM »
I like the Ft. Wayne curriculum emphasis on integrating the academic disciplines in modular course work so the student can gain a greater understanding about how X insight from the exegetical perspective might work through systematics and into an eventual parish setting.  That seems to me most helpful for the residential student.  The SMP student in addition to that already has a location for his ministry and is carrying it on, so he can use those insights immediately.

A beef I had with the old system was that the "traditional" students were living an Animal Farm existence - an all boy all the time setting distanced from the world.  Whatever "religion" we learned, our practice had to do with that survival of the fittest infrastructure.  So we had an elitist sarcastic way about us in our little world.  Not only highly immature, but totally useless in the parish.  The opposite of that, a perfunctory untuousness, was also on exhibit.  Again, useless and immature.

So training from the authentic commitment to the texts and the process of learning through professors and mentors who exemplify their deep spiritual commitments is at the heart of how the learning forms toward the pastoral office.

Dave Benke