Reflections from Seminary Students

Thoughts from the Cemetery

November 22nd, 2011 § 0 Comments

I wrote a column for University Presbyterian Church about seminary. It is basically a swan song to the SPS and its people. It was originally posted here: Enjoy!

Erin (far left—yes, the guy with the glasses) with four friends who help keep his faith alive.

The summer before I started seminary, there were many well-meaning and lovely people who asked me, jokingly, if I was ready to start “cemetery.” I would always laugh politely and tell them, jokingly, “Well, yes, of course!” This half-funny reaction was the only response I had for such an unusual question.

I suppose I knew where they were coming from. I had heard that many people have taken the road to seminary only to lose their faith in academic Christianity. They come out on the other side of a theology degree with a head full of knowledge, but an empty heart for ministry and the church. Apparently, they enter the crypt somewhere in between “Church History 101” and “Karl Barth’s Dogmatics in Full.” » Read the rest of this entry «

The Church as the future of seminary education – a reflection on Seattle Pacific Seminary

November 7th, 2011 § 0 Comments

Over on my blog – I recently spent some time reflecting on a recent spate of posts in the media and blogosphere trying to get at the so-called “Future of Seminary Education”.  The web portal has sponsored a large online symposium addressing the question that continues to grow.

As a seminary graduate myself, faculty member at a few seminaries mentioned in the discussions as well as the Associate Dean at Seattle Pacific Seminary, I have been following the discussion but must admit that I am left scratching my head a bit with what I am seeing as the conclusions and predictions.  Here are some thoughts to add to the discussion.

For starters, given that the changing face of Christianity is certainly not white and male, reviewing just the faces of the key discussion leaders offers up a pretty ethnically and economically homogeneous group to write reflections on what they see as the future… given that they themselves are not the future in a majority sense. » Read the rest of this entry «


October 17th, 2011 § 5 Comments

Someday I plan to own my own home. I also plan to build this house.  Of course, I will have to get some help from my Dad, who is a master at all things construction.  To date, while I am handy with a hammer, I have only successfully built a rickety tea shelf. With the downturn in the housing market as well as the economy and the fact that my generation is the first not anticipated to exceed our parents, this is the only kind of house I am likely to afford.  Let’s face it, ministry does not pay that well.

Tiny homes are more than just a fad in the housing market along with Cargotecture and houses constructed out of straw bales.  Tiny homes are a great way to cultivate a lifestyle of Christian stewardship and love for neighbor.  With the amount of over-sized and large mortgaged homes being foreclosed upon in America, a smaller home does make sense.  Tiny homes are typically around 100 ft², as opposed to the almost 2,500 ft² average American home.  Tiny homes can get as small as 64 ft² or as large as 200 ft² and are usually built on trailer hitches.  Trailer hitches make these tiny homes mobile and help the homeowner avoid government regulations.

» Read the rest of this entry «


October 5th, 2011 § 6 Comments

This is the first of our bi-weekly posts on worship. Every other Wednesday, expect to find both new and old ideas on worship practices, worship services, and philosophy and theology of worship.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with the Taizé community in France, an ecumenical, eponymous effort founded in 1940 in the village of Taizé, you may be in for a treat. First harboring refugees during World War II, it gradually evolved into an international monastic community that worships together, prays together, and is quite concerned about simplicity, peace and justice. Over 100,000 people make pilgrimages to Taizé each year. » Read the rest of this entry «

On Community

March 16th, 2011 § 0 Comments

Although apartments stack seemingly endlessly upon each other as urban density exponentially increases, life in the city can feel solitary. When your neighbors sign a one-year lease, is it worth taking the time to get to know them? Without intentionality, no readily apparent reason emerges for beginning a relationship with an apartment neighbor. Homeowners can dialogue with neighbors over fences, mowed lawns, and neighborhood softball tournaments. We apartment dwellers, on the other hand, don’t rely on our urban neighbors for sustenance, entertainment, or help. Instead, we drive to a store.

Photo by Peter Morgan

The American marketplace has replaced the American neighbor.

Outside the congested cities resides community life. In smaller areas, people lean on others to survive; they know each other’s business and the sense of self is defined more by the group than by the individual. This group is not a gathering of like-minded individuals around a hobby or passing fad; it is people helping people no matter the circumstances.

In Week 7 of Winter Quarter’s Lectio, Dr. David Nienhuis discusses the sermon on community in Matthew 18:

“Christian community is not a social club or a center for ‘worshiptainment,’ but a training ground for the Kingdom of Heaven. It is a place people go in order to submit to the training of a loving Coach who embraces us as we are and then uses our fellow community members to reshape us into the kind of people he calls us to be.”

Is your church experience more a gathering for a hobby or a necessity for the subsistence of yourself and others?

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