Does the study of theology require more skin, more personal involvement, than other types of study?
Case study one: Claire is a second-year university student. She has one optional subject and spots a summer school program called Bible and Popular Culture. She has a cousin who grew up religious and it makes for awkward pauses whenever the family get together. She enrolls in Bible and Popular Culture, hoping to gain an easy credit and to help her talk with the "religious" side of her family.
As I prepared to be ordained recently, my mind kept returning to the people in my life who might be perplexed by this decision. I have friends and colleagues who wonder, quite justly, what the church has to offer that one cannot find elsewhere. I thought about how I might describe what pulls me toward ministry and the church in particular.
A couple of weeks ago, funeral director Caleb Wilde wrote a blog post about who to seek out when dealing with grief. His basic advice: find a therapist before you seek out your pastor. The reasoning goes that therapists, with their training in the psychological aspects that arise in times of grief, are better qualified than clergy to deal with things like depression.
It seems a little backward on the Sunday after Pentecost to receive instructions that have already been successfully carried out. Peter and the disciples blew them away last week, preaching up a storm of fire and spirit like a host of Rosetta Stone experts. But today we go back to the place where Jesus told them what to do: Go and make disciples.
John Green was enrolled at University of Chicago Divinity School, preparing to become an Episcopal priest. He was doing his CPE, working as a chaplain when he conceived of The Fault in Our Stars. The book hit the top of the NYT bestseller list and Green didn’t go to Div School. Though, the book might be assigned reading in seminary now. At least Katherine Willis Pershey thinks it should be.
I frequently speak to church groups about pilgrimage to the Holy Land. I speak as a pilgrim, but the conversation often turns to politics. Inevitably someone will ask about our denomination’s position on the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. There’s no simple answer.
It's hard to know what to do and what not to do on the Internet. These are new forms of communicating, so we're trying out different rules of engagement. Often our social behavior forms by what gets on people's nerves.