Author Topic: Nones at Divinity School  (Read 3844 times)

Donald_Kirchner

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Re: Nones at Divinity School
« Reply #15 on: October 20, 2015, 04:30:12 PM »
I repeat. People are interested in studying theology. Should we not be pleased with that?

Where did you get the idea that there's an interest in studying theology?

The young woman seems interested in studying humanism, philosophy, spirituality, etc. I don't see much of a mention about theology other than HDS stating that it "was established in 1816 as the country's first nonsectarian theological school. It is dedicated to educating future leaders in religious life and thought with the resources and support of the wider Harvard University."

Religious studies and theology are not the same. Google "theology vs religion."

Pleased? Or not pleased? It's a free country. Perhaps she'll stumble upon a Bible.
« Last Edit: October 20, 2015, 04:41:50 PM by Pr. Don Kirchner »
Don Kirchner

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Dave Likeness

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Re: Nones at Divinity School
« Reply #16 on: October 20, 2015, 04:54:04 PM »
Yale Divinity School produced the following theologians:

Frederick  Buechner, Stanley Hauerwas, Richard Hays,
Reinhold Niebuhr, H.R. Niebuhr, William Willimon. and
Barbara Brown Taylor.    What they have in common
is this:  Several became prominent professors as well
as well-known preachers.  All have become popular
authors as well as good theologians.

Bottom Line:  Seminaries produce parish pastors and
Divinity Schools produce professors and theologians.

Donald_Kirchner

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Re: Nones at Divinity School
« Reply #17 on: October 20, 2015, 05:03:01 PM »
Yale Divinity School produced the following theologians:

Frederick  Buechner, Stanley Hauerwas, Richard Hays,
Reinhold Niebuhr, H.R. Niebuhr, William Willimon. and
Barbara Brown Taylor.    What they have in common
is this:  Several became prominent professors as well
as well-known preachers.  All have become popular
authors as well as good theologians.

Bottom Line:  Seminaries produce parish pastors and
Divinity Schools produce professors and theologians.

Harvard Divinity School produced the following "theologians":

-Ralph Waldo Emerson, philosopher, poet, and essayist
-Horatio Alger, scholar and novelist
-Reza Aslan, author and Islamic scholar
-George Madison Bodge, author, historian, and Unitarian minister
-Tom Chappell, founder of Tom's of Maine, large producer of natural personal care products
-Tom Chick, actor, editor and video game journalist
-Greg Epstein, Humanist Chaplain at Harvard University, and author of the New York Times Bestselling book, Good Without God: What a Billion Nonreligious People Do Believe
-Theodore Parker, prominent Unitarian and transcendentalist Unitarian minister, scholar, abolitionist and author of the line, "...the moral...arc of history...bends toward justice..."
-Sarah Warn, Editor-in-Chief; founder of AfterEllen.com
-Edmund Sears, Unitarian theologian
Don Kirchner

"Heaven's OK, but itís not the end of the world." Jeff Gibbs

Dan Fienen

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Re: Nones at Divinity School
« Reply #18 on: October 20, 2015, 05:07:37 PM »
Perhaps the distinction between a divinity school and a seminary is key here, as has been suggested.  By seminary I am primarily referring to a school for training pastors to serve in congregations.  An academic trade school in effect, much as law schools are for training students to practice the various varieties of the profession of the law, medical schools to train students to pursue a career in medicine.  I would object to students seeking to pursue a career in church work/leadership without sharing the faith proclaimed by the kind of church that they are going to lead and being committed to that faith.

On the other hand, religious studies as a general academic subject should be open to all who have a interest.  Why not?  However their spiritual journey turns out, it can be helpful for them.  But for those who wish  to be pastors in our churches or other professional church workers we should insist on a commitment not just to spirituality in general or a vague religiosity, but a commitment to Biblical beliefs in accord to the Lutheran Confessions.

The question for our schools is whether it would be useful for us to provide the more general academic track for anyone interested as well as our more narrowly focused course of study to train men to be pastors in our churches and men and women to be other church workers. 
Pr. Daniel Fienen
LCMS

Donald_Kirchner

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Re: Nones at Divinity School
« Reply #19 on: October 20, 2015, 05:17:03 PM »
The question for our schools is whether it would be useful for us to provide the more general academic track for anyone interested as well as our more narrowly focused course of study to train men to be pastors in our churches and men and women to be other church workers.

Don't we already have that? For example, MA and PhD programs at Sem StL.

http://www.csl.edu/admissions/academics/choose/
Don Kirchner

"Heaven's OK, but itís not the end of the world." Jeff Gibbs

Dave Likeness

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Re: Nones at Divinity School
« Reply #20 on: October 20, 2015, 05:19:07 PM »
Pastor Don Kirchner forgot to mention one of the illustrious
graduates of Harvard Divinity School: Dr.  Walter A. Maier who
became a professor at Concordia Seminary, St. Louis and the
famous Lutheran Hour Speaker on radio until his death in 1950.

Donald_Kirchner

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Re: Nones at Divinity School
« Reply #21 on: October 20, 2015, 05:24:10 PM »
Pastor Don Kirchner forgot to mention one of the illustrious
graduates of Harvard Divinity School: Dr.  Walter A. Maier who
became a professor at Concordia Seminary, St. Louis and the
famous Lutheran Hour Speaker on radio until his death in 1950.

Thanks, Dave. He wasn't on the list I looked at. Are you sure that he graduated from HDS or was it Harvard University? I found this:

"[Maier] received an M.A. in Semitic language, literature and history from Harvard University in 1920; and in 1929 became the twentieth person to ever receive his doctorate from Harvard in Semitics."

He already was an ordained minister, graduating Sem StL, when he headed to Cambridge, MA.
« Last Edit: October 20, 2015, 05:30:38 PM by Pr. Don Kirchner »
Don Kirchner

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RPG

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Re: Nones at Divinity School
« Reply #22 on: October 20, 2015, 05:32:12 PM »
Theology is for proclamation.

RPG+
The Rev. Ryan P. Gage
Eureka, SD

Donald_Kirchner

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Re: Nones at Divinity School
« Reply #23 on: October 20, 2015, 05:33:22 PM »
Theology is for proclamation.

RPG+

I read that somewhere!  ;) An excellent book.
Don Kirchner

"Heaven's OK, but itís not the end of the world." Jeff Gibbs

RPG

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Re: Nones at Divinity School
« Reply #24 on: October 20, 2015, 05:35:41 PM »
Theology is for proclamation.

RPG+

I read that somewhere!  ;) An excellent book.
I heartily agree.  :)
The Rev. Ryan P. Gage
Eureka, SD

Charles Austin

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Re: Nones at Divinity School
« Reply #25 on: October 20, 2015, 05:44:52 PM »
I still do not get the sense of irritation. Yes, our seminaries are for preparing pastors and presumably for those already "religious." (What if an atheist wanted to enroll in Concordia Seminary? Would it be allowed?) But should we not be glad that people are studying religion or spirituality or divinity or the mysteries of the universe? Is it not possible that some good can come from that?
I suppose not, for such people will not be indoctrinated with "Lutheran" theology, or taught only in the "Christian" tradition.
Retired ELCA Pastor. Former national staff Lutheran Church in America And the Lutheran world Federation, Geneva. Former journalist. Now retired and living in Minneapolis.

Donald_Kirchner

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Re: Nones at Divinity School
« Reply #26 on: October 20, 2015, 05:47:58 PM »
Is it not possible that some good can come from that?

Of course. I already suggested that she might stumble upon a Bible. You seem to be the one who is irritated, Charles. You're arguing with yourself.
Don Kirchner

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Svensen

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Re: Nones at Divinity School
« Reply #27 on: October 20, 2015, 06:06:56 PM »
Pastor Don Kirchner forgot to mention one of the illustrious
graduates of Harvard Divinity School: Dr.  Walter A. Maier who
became a professor at Concordia Seminary, St. Louis and the
famous Lutheran Hour Speaker on radio until his death in 1950.

Indeed, Piotr Malysz - an LCMS pastor and theologian - is a recent graduate of Harvard Divinity School with the Th.D.

Terry W Culler

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Re: Nones at Divinity School
« Reply #28 on: October 20, 2015, 06:28:43 PM »
No, we should not really be glad that unbelievers are studying in divinity schools because they become the Elaine Pagels and Matthew Foxes and others who befuddle the faithful by calling into question all that is believed, taught and confessed in our churches.  I recall something Frederick Buechner wrote, btw.  He was teaching for a semester at Harvard Divinity School and began his classes with a prayer.  One of the students came to him and said she and others felt uncomfortable with that because they were atheists. If I recall, he didn't know how to respond. 
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Dan Fienen

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Re: Nones at Divinity School
« Reply #29 on: October 20, 2015, 07:02:10 PM »
I still do not get the sense of irritation. Yes, our seminaries are for preparing pastors and presumably for those already "religious." (What if an atheist wanted to enroll in Concordia Seminary? Would it be allowed?) But should we not be glad that people are studying religion or spirituality or divinity or the mysteries of the universe? Is it not possible that some good can come from that?
I suppose not, for such people will not be indoctrinated with "Lutheran" theology, or taught only in the "Christian" tradition.
If you read irritation from me you need to up your reading skills.  I'm not irritated that some may come not out of faith but curiosity, they simply will leave with their lack of faith challenged and a good theological education.  Not everyone who attends Seminary ends  up a pastor.  My oldest brother graduated from CSL not with an M.Div but an MAR (Masters of Arts in Religion) and went on to serving God and His church, just not as a pastor.  Seminary certainly was not wasted on him.  One of my classmates graduated with an M.Div but not the additional Diploma that certified him for ordination and to be a pastor in the LCMS.  Wasted?  He still received a great theological education.

A question that needs to be considered is how much of the resources available should be used to support general religious education.  Not that such would be a bad use of resources, but resources are finite and needs to be used well.
Pr. Daniel Fienen
LCMS