October 15th, 2015


The value of a seminary education

I had a great idea for a children's lesson not long ago. As the idea developed in my mind, an extraneous thought occurred to me. It didn't seem relevant at first, but it nagged at me. Finally, I decided that I had better look it up.

By looking it up, I mean, taking my Greek New Testament down off the shelf and finding exactly what word was used in the original Gospel, then taking my Greek-English Lexicon off the shelf and looking up the word in all its first century usages. And I discovered that I was wrong. My great idea wouldn't bear the weight I wanted to put on it. So I junked it, and did something else.

Now, I suppose, in this internet age, I could have looked up what I needed to know on the 'net. But to make sense of what I found, I still would have needed the language skills I learned in seminary. And that's what seminary is for.

Seminary can't make you a wise and mature person. It takes a lot of life experience to make you that. Seminary can't make you a spiritual person. It takes a lot of time spent with God to make you that. Seminary can't equip you to master all the challenges you will face in the pastorate. There simply isn't time, nor will all the challenges you face come conveniently labeled like laboratory specimens for you to know what to do with them.

Seminary education is a long slog through a whole raft of skills and knowledge and experiences that give you a background that few others have. That doesn't make you a better leader or a better Christian, but it gives you tools others don't have. And you're supposed to use those tools. Even on a children's lesson.
too old to cry

Cultural literacy

We were calendaring the first 8 months of 2016 at Troop Committee tonight. We had the school, church, and Council calendars out to check for conflicts. Midway through our discussion of April events, somebody mentioned of a happening, "that's on April 18." I replied, "Hardly a man is now alive." Val smirked. Most of the rest gave blank responses. So I said, "You know, Paul Revere's ride." Still no response. So I recited,
On the eighteenth of April, in Seventy-five;
Hardly a man is now alive
Who remembers that famous day and year.
General consternation. Lloyd said, "I can remember the Ides of March, but that's about it." Which is impressive all by itself, when you think of it.

Everyone can tell you when some internet-boosted special day for Bullied Beagles with Body dysmorphia is, but nobody knows any historical dates. Let alone, poetry.