Transforming the City, by Eldin Villafane

Thumbnail sketches of six pioneering efforts to bridge the gap between traditional seminary programs and the needs of leaders in multi­ethnic urban communities open this book. An excellent essay on the case study method by Robert A. Evans and Alice Frazer Evans introduces these sketches. They are not the "slice of life" the authors promise, but rather descriptive reports from two points of view: that of a program executive and that of an anonymous reporter presuming to provide objective information.

The sketches are informative, suggesting the broad challenges that confront each program, its sponsors and the students involved. But they are bloodless when compared to the raw honesty of interactive case studies using recognizable characters who engage in believable dialogue and seek to resolve complex problems.

Between the historical introduction by Bruce W. Jackson that follows and the epilogue by Eldin Villafane, an all-star cast of theological educators reflects on the six programs. These reflections are particularly helpful for seminary leaders who are wrestling with cross-cultural issues, reflecting on such things as curriculum content, collaborative pedagogy and contemporary urban demands that challenge historic academic credentials.