Author Topic: Nones at Divinity School  (Read 3765 times)

Mark Brown

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Nones at Divinity School
« on: October 20, 2015, 12:25:57 PM »
From the NY Times "On Religion" space...http://www.nytimes.com/2015/10/17/us/more-students-secular-but-feeling-a-call-turn-to-divinity-schools.html?_r=0

Quote
...Here she was, starting her graduate studies in religion when she did not know the definition of liturgy, had never read the Bible and could not have identified a major theologian like Karl Barth, even if it would have won her a fortune on “Jeopardy!” Yet something in organized religion hinted at an answer to the atomized, unmoored life she led...

She added, “I wanted to create a meaningful community that came together based on a shared goal rather than a shared religious creed.”...

Second, divinity school offers even atheists and spiritual seekers a language of moral discourse and training in congregational leadership. The traits appeal to nones who aspire to careers in activism, social work, chaplaincy or community organizing rather than taking to a pulpit...

Within higher education, divinity programs often stand apart from the cult of relativism in the liberal arts and the utilitarian emphasis in professional schools focusing on business and law, for example....

After putting aside the cynical blind leading the blind reaction, I'm having a hard to not coming to the following conclusion.  This is exactly the type of thing you end up with when theology is rooted in the first article instead of the third article, when it comes from creation instead of from the heart of the church.  You end up with people looking for God in "sacred scriptures" like Harry Potter and Jane Eyre.  You end up with the desire for moral language (law) without any real foundation.  You end up with those desiring lasting community based on goal, but not realizing that the goal is the eschatological one - sanctification.  Education, specifically Christian Education, is rooted in the third article which presupposes the revelation of creation and justification.  Otherwise it looks like this.  Maybe not immediately.  You can coast on fumes for a while and there is a lot of ruin in most institutions, but this is the fin de siècle.

Charles Austin

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Re: Nones at Divinity School
« Reply #1 on: October 20, 2015, 01:02:55 PM »
Yes, by all means, let us lament the fact that people who may not have a theology are going to seminaries to learn about theology. They are there, after all, for the wrong reasons and - since we are so darned insecure - their presence may contaminate the purity of whatever we think is there.
I think it's terrific that the people described in that article are at seminaries. It's better than having them squeeze together and create their own seminary and theology.
Retired ELCA Pastor. Iowa native. Oh, my. How close we were to a situation where many people with guns could’ve killed many members of Congress. The possible result? Martial law and/or Civil War. Thank God some people are still coming forward to tell the truth.

Terry W Culler

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Re: Nones at Divinity School
« Reply #2 on: October 20, 2015, 01:12:42 PM »
One of the blessings of being a Lutheran is that our seminaries exist for the purpose of training pastors, not for letting people play around trying to make up their own religion. 
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Dave Likeness

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Re: Nones at Divinity School
« Reply #3 on: October 20, 2015, 02:00:06 PM »
As one who was blessed to go through "The System" of Pre-ministerial
training at Concordia High School, Milwaukee, Concordia Junior College,
Milwaukee, and Concordia Senior College, Ft Wayne, I have one hope
for today.  That before a student enters one of our LCMS seminaries,
please attend an LCMS Concordia University.

I realize that many second career seminarians do not have that choice.
However, if a high school graduate feels called to the Holy Ministry,
it would help him immensely to have 4 years on a Lutheran University
campus and take some pre-ministerial courses.

Mark Brown

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Re: Nones at Divinity School
« Reply #4 on: October 20, 2015, 02:22:01 PM »
Yes, by all means, let us lament the fact that people who may not have a theology are going to seminaries to learn about theology. They are there, after all, for the wrong reasons and - since we are so darned insecure - their presence may contaminate the purity of whatever we think is there.
I think it's terrific that the people described in that article are at seminaries. It's better than having them squeeze together and create their own seminary and theology.

Please tell me how they are learning about theology? What exactly is the content of their learning? And did you pick up that the critique was not aimed at the students but at those who would design the curriculum?  The students desires are not all bad, but there is no one to actually teach.  It would be great if they found their way into a Dr. Arand confessions class, or a Dr. Gibbs class on Matthew, or a Dr. Lessing class on Amos.  (Or a Dr. Adams class on Genesis/Exodus.) But that is not what happens.  And then what happens when a student with an M.Div., $35,000 of debt and no way to get a real job leaves?  Do congregations start looking like great bases for community organizing?  They bring all that deeds not creeds pixie dust and edgy doubt in the ministerial office to congregations?  The same people who designed the curriculum say not our fault you stodgy Pharisees.  They have replicated themselves and extend the complete lack of a real education to those congregations.  If it came from the heart of the church, if it was real love which education ultimate is a work of, they would be instructed in the truth - like Jesus did with the Rich Young Man the past two weeks. 

Charles Austin

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Re: Nones at Divinity School
« Reply #5 on: October 20, 2015, 03:19:00 PM »
The person cited in the story is going to Harvard Divinity school, and I think there will be some content to what she learns there.   Good professors even.
Retired ELCA Pastor. Iowa native. Oh, my. How close we were to a situation where many people with guns could’ve killed many members of Congress. The possible result? Martial law and/or Civil War. Thank God some people are still coming forward to tell the truth.

Svensen

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Re: Nones at Divinity School
« Reply #6 on: October 20, 2015, 03:29:52 PM »
I don't see why this is that surprising, considering Harvard Divinity School is entirely non-sectarian and interreligious anyway. Yale, U Chicago, and Vanderbilt - though officially Christian - probably have similar people all over the place. (My guess is that other top schools like Princeton, Duke, and Baylor are noticeably more "Christian" than these other four, however).

Donald_Kirchner

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Re: Nones at Divinity School
« Reply #7 on: October 20, 2015, 03:36:45 PM »
I don't see why this is that surprising, considering Harvard Divinity School is entirely non-sectarian and interreligious anyway. Yale, U Chicago, and Vanderbilt - though officially Christian - probably have similar people all over the place. (My guess is that other top schools like Princeton, Duke, and Baylor are noticeably more "Christian" than these other four, however).

Indeed. Let us not confuse divinity schools with seminaries, particularly Harvard Divinity School which is hardly Christian.

"What is the difference between Harvard Divinity School and a seminary?

Harvard Divinity School 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. Seminaries are typically affiliated with a particular religious denomination, and may or may not be affiliated with a larger university. We recommend that you contact the denominational seminaries that interest you for additional information about their programs, resources, and student life. We are happy to share detailed information about HDS."

"I am not affiliated with a particular religious or spiritual tradition. Is there still a place for me at HDS?

Yes! Students come to HDS from a variety of spiritual and religious backgrounds, including non-religious backgrounds. We have a number of students that are not affiliated with a religious tradition. What all HDS students share in common is a willingness to explore the complexities of religious thought and life through academic curiosity and practical engagement."

http://hds.harvard.edu/admissions-aid/frequently-asked-questions
Don Kirchner

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Charles Austin

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Re: Nones at Divinity School
« Reply #8 on: October 20, 2015, 03:39:13 PM »
 No surprises at all in the judgmental responses here.
Retired ELCA Pastor. Iowa native. Oh, my. How close we were to a situation where many people with guns could’ve killed many members of Congress. The possible result? Martial law and/or Civil War. Thank God some people are still coming forward to tell the truth.

Donald_Kirchner

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Re: Nones at Divinity School
« Reply #9 on: October 20, 2015, 03:43:49 PM »
No surprises at all in the judgmental responses here.

Harvard Divinity School is being judgmental?!   :o  How so? 
Don Kirchner

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peter_speckhard

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Re: Nones at Divinity School
« Reply #10 on: October 20, 2015, 03:50:00 PM »
No surprises at all in the judgmental responses here.
How you pack so much irony in so few words continually amazes me.

Steverem

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Re: Nones at Divinity School
« Reply #11 on: October 20, 2015, 03:53:39 PM »
No surprises at all in the judgmental responses here.
How you pack so much irony in so few words continually amazes me.

He is a professional writer, you know ...

Donald_Kirchner

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Re: Nones at Divinity School
« Reply #12 on: October 20, 2015, 03:55:21 PM »
No surprises at all in the judgmental responses here.
How you pack so much irony in so few words continually amazes me.

I'm amazed at how Charles pulls off a one-man circular firing squad.   ::)
Don Kirchner

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Charles Austin

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Re: Nones at Divinity School
« Reply #13 on: October 20, 2015, 04:11:59 PM »
I repeat. People are interested in studying theology. Should we not be pleased with that?
Retired ELCA Pastor. Iowa native. Oh, my. How close we were to a situation where many people with guns could’ve killed many members of Congress. The possible result? Martial law and/or Civil War. Thank God some people are still coming forward to tell the truth.

Steverem

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Re: Nones at Divinity School
« Reply #14 on: October 20, 2015, 04:21:24 PM »
I repeat. People are interested in studying theology. Should we not be pleased with that?

I guess it depends on if you see these schools simply as graduate programs for the study of theology, or if they are designed for the formation of pastors.  If the former, then, by all means, bring 'em all in.  But if the idea is to create and train shepherds to tend their flocks, then recruiting non-believers to the cause is somewhat problematic, no?