Princeton Theological Seminary's farm grows food. But this isn't the main point.
Theological schools occupy a unique place within higher education. With relatively small enrollments and modest endowments, seminaries feel the cutting edge of change. Online learning, new degree programs, and nontraditional scheduling proliferate. And rumors abound that one school or another might shut down.
I knew Jannie Swart's witness would have a lasting impact on our seminary. I didn't anticipate how it would challenge me in the classroom.
"We had to be willing to do a clear-eyed assessment of our financial situation—and to risk our old identity for the sake of a renewed mission."
There is much hand-wringing about the future of theological education. Yet graduates still follow the Spirit's call into some form of ministry.
In the context of a seminary class behind bars, Jesus' question to Simon is a probing and challenging one.
It would be a shame if the crisis in seminary education didn’t lead to fresh thinking about how the church calls, trains and places leaders.
Why is theological education necessary? What are the conditions of its fruitfulness? Such questions are both basic and perplexing.
I enjoyed Michelle Boorstein's piece of reporting on M. Div. students who aren't headed for parish ministry. She details how some seminarians seek to be ministers of a sort as part of their calling to other vocations; she also touches on the challenges of post-Christendom pastoring and the need for more flexible and affordable paths through seminary.