Thinking about Seminary?

I'm not sure if you have thought about going to seminary. SSome people do it just to learn more about the Bible, theology, church history, or what have you. Some people do it as part of their church community, with the goal of discerning together if he should be ordained as a deacon, and perhaps later a priest/presbyter, and maybe even (Subhaan Allah) a bishop.

Here's a great post from a new blog by an anonymous seminarian. He happens to be Anglican (like your truly--though I did not attend an Anglican seminary), but I think his observations will hold ttrue for folks from most any tradition--Baptist, Pentecostal, Methodist, maybe even to a certain degree Catholic?

From Anglican Student US:

The more interesting dynamic in the class is the young, straight-out-of-college seminarians versus the older, already-been-in-ministry seminarians and the oldest, this-is-my-second-career seminarians. Let me tell you about how this breaks down:

1. I am in the second, middle group, and I am very motivated for seminary and scholastic pursuits but as a veteran minister I am also even more aware of the spiritual needs and personalities that are interacting in the room.
2. The oldest group seems to be motivated by "Just let me pass and get out of here." They want to "move-on!" They are only interested in the seminary courses which will help them in "real ministry" and biblical languages (though theoretically important) don't scratch where they are itching.
3. The youngest seem to be almost ONLY concerned with scholastic work. Maybe this is because they need the good grades to show what they can do in order to move into a job. Maybe since they don't have experience they need to show good grades. But I think it's more than that. The young guys (and they are all men) seem drawn to a kind of intellectual faith. It's almost as if conservative Christianity is truth because it's reasonable and therefore pursuing more academics is a kind of discipleship and pursuit of God. That, it seems to me, makes a fair amount of sense, and I have even heard dear "Uncle John" Stott say something similar; however, I fear, this is putting these guys in the best possible light. Something more...competitive seems to be at play.
* They are mastering every single minute aspect of the language to secure themselves in a air-tight bubble of academic mastery. I say this because their interpersonal skills are very odd. Cocky. Dismissive. And when caught in a mistake in class, they are defensive --almost never admitting they were wrong.
* And maybe this is judgmental but they are also the ones who never come to chapel in the mornings. They seem almost bored by spirituality and by other people.


Karen said…
Hey there!

This is really interesting - and in my experience this is a really common phenomenon. It seems that, at least in the US, young men often go into seminary in order to increase their knowledge base and yet their lives, their "orthopraxy", is dreadfully is really too bad that there are not more young men interested in theology in order to better engage the culture they live in...there is a terrible disconnect within Christianity between "intellectual" theology and our day to day lives...but lets face it - theology IS relevant and it is our own fault for not recognizing it and learning to understand its impact on us and the world in which we't wait to check out more of your blog!
Abu Daoud said…
Good point Karen. The truth is that theology is not an easy field of study, nor is it very simple. I think that there are two things that are foundational to a good theological education:

A very thorough knowledge of the Bible AND its history of interpretation.

A good knowledge of Church history, not just the history of one's own tradition (ie, Baptist, Anglican, Othodox).

If you have both of these down, which is no easy task, then you can start to intelligently start to discuss the more difficult theological questions.

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