Is your pastor smart?

Bruce Reyes-Chow and I are getting ready for the next episode of The God Complex Radio Show, join us for live chatting at Noon EDT today, or you can download it later. 

We’re delving deeper into the conversation that started here. So, it should be interesting. I hope you’ll join us!

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7 thoughts on “Is your pastor smart?

  1. Because of my 8-5 job, I’ll have to wait until I can download the podcast to listen, but I’d appreciate it if you could talk a bit about the apparent connection some people made in that original thread between education and “liberalism.”

    Either way, looking forward to it!

  2. I am late to this conversation(May 20) but would like to recommend the “Faith Matters” column in the June 2, 2009 issue (p 31) of “The Christian Century” as relevant to this conversation about the importance of educating the pastor. The author, Stephanie Paulsell, makes the argument that we need people who can think critically about history and about the history of Christianity in order that ethical decisions are made. She argues from the story of Rabbi Gamaliael in Acts 5, where the rabbi’s reasoned argument saves the lives of the apostles. She then goes on to claim that tragically there were no such critical thinkers among the Cabinet members and lawmakers who were briefed and approved waterboarding torture. The argument and relevance for this blog, is that one learned man or woman who can think critically about history is so important to good ethical decisions being made, in the church, or in our larger society. It is an argument for the seminary educated pastor.

  3. Thanks, Janet. I’ll be sure to read it.

    I should be clear though. I think that education is important. It’s just that our system is not compensating men and women to handle the debt load for their education level. Often pastors are in difficult situations, and they cannot make that clear to their churches.

    So, what are we going to do about it?

  4. You are right, college and seminary loans today often put an impossible financial burden on pastors that most churches neither realize nor are equipped to help with.

    The real solution probably lies in figuring out new ways to deliver seminary education and perhaps even redesigning seminary education and how it is delivered entirely.

    Although I doubt very much if there is money for this, the national office of PC(USA) could set up a way to loan seminarians money and then cancel the debt if on graduation and ordination the new ministers would serve in areas of poverty and great need (sort of like what the federal government does for some federal teacher loans).

    United Theological Seminary, a Methodist seminary in the Dayton Ohio area, has a weekend program for Methodist men and women serving as pastors in small rural Methodist churches in Kentucky. These men and women work as full-time lay pastors (often with a 2 or 3 point or larger charge), take regular seminary classes (sometimes online) or meet for classes on long weekends at the seminary or its branch in Kentucky, and eventually are ordained. I believe the Methodist church pays for their tuition. I have been in classes with these folk and I am amazed at all they accomplish academically, given the many demands on their time.

  5. It would be interesting if, as an option, people could fulfill ordination requirements with a BA, eliminating the need for 3 more years of school. I know that most people don’t recieve their call until after they leave college (like me), but I think that some may know their call while still in college.

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