Monday, April 28, 2008

Seminary Expectations

Tomorrow I am going off to my 25th seminary reunion. I love going to Cambridge if for no other reason to haunt the endless number of book stores in that epitome of a college town. I do like Cambridge. But walking is not my strong suit anymore and that is a must as there was NO parking to be found in Cambridge even on the best of days in my day. I don’t care to think what it is like now.

J. celebrates her 40th reunion at the same institution. So we will be sharing this get-together. Her class is much more cohesive, in fact two classes will be meeting together—ones that shared Jonathan Daniels’ death. Things like that bring a class together. My group is not that tight. In fact, I really don’t identify much with my own class because I had more classes with the group behind me. I transferred to my seminary in the second year.

What do we expect of class reunions? Is it a mere touch with days past? A visit with lost friends? A refresher to past studies? All of the professors I had are either dead or retired now. My seminary does provide a substantial set of lectures which one may chalk up some continuing education credits. I am looking forward to the challenge to my well-tuned theologies.

Or at a baser level, are class reunion merely a chance to crow about how well one has done in their career? I do hope that is not the direction that this confab will go. The Church has not faired well in the past 10 years. We have all been part of that whether we were ordained or not. Should we accept some of the blame of the schismatic scandal? Certainly EDS has led the wave to include LGBT persons in the Church. Should we continue to wave the banner for newness? Should we be the center of reconciliation at present day or should we continue on the cutting edge as this school has been for at least 50 years.

For that matter, what is the future of seminary education? If we observe what is going on in our diocese, more and more of the clergy are not being trained in seminaries. And I doubt if the powers that be would even allow someone who wants to be on the cutting edge of theology to attend EDS—but then again, I doubt if those who want to be in the vanguard of theology would even be admitted to postulancy in our area. It seems that only those who will feed the status quo are acceptable. I hurt for the Church in our area where the people are fed with milk rather than the full-bodied wine of the faith.

What I hope for this trip to EDS, this touch with the past and this call to the future that only my seminary seem to be doing, is a wakening to the needs of those who are not stuck in the past. But not all expectations get fulfilled. I can live with that. What I can’t live with is a Church that is stuck in the past. My God is not stuck in the past. The God that I have known and served for the past 25 years has always kept me aware of the needs of the future. May it ever be so.


FranIAm said...

What an interesting post.

As you know, I am not of your tradition so I can't always comment on all things.

That said, I think the whole reunion thing can be a very ego propping affair, sadly.

You ask a lot of what sound like great questions about where the seminaries are headed. And in my church, I would not even be welcome there.

Today I was at a short course on spirituality, taught by a local and very liberal RC priest. He really took our church to task and challenged the people (most of whom are 65+ and conservative) to think in a more expansive way.

I feel the same way reading this as I did in his class.

Pax my sister.

Jane R said...

Oh my, we were in Cambridge at the same time. I was up the street at HDS from 73 to 76.

Have a wonderful time -- blessings to you.

Jane R said...

Oops, I misread! A decade apart, sorry. Now you KNOW I'm old. ;-).

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

So. How was the reunion?