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H. B. Lonndon writes:  As I reflect on a recent trip to Dallas Theological Seminary, I could not help but think about all of the things that my seminary training did not prepare me for. For instance: 1. They did not teach me how to love. That came through experience. 2. I did not really understand how complicated the lives of people really were. Some of them were too broken to mend. 3. I was surprised at how judgmental and cruel Christian people could be. Graduate school did not warn me, or at least if they did I didn’t listen. 4. I probably needed more specific training in problem solving, and crisis management. 5. In my day there was not much attention being given to financial management. Even though my first assignment was small, I was still a 23 year old CEO. Scary. // Read 5 more here:  10 Things Seminary Never Taught Me What would you add to the list? If you went to seminary… what is the one thing that you wish they would have taught you? Please leave your short comment below… Todd
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Current Events
Concordia Seminary in suburban St. Louis gets an eclectic mix of students in a program allowing them to train for the ministry online — electricians, farmers, entrepreneurs — and even a founder of one of the best-known thrash metal bands. David Ellefson plays bass for Megadeth. He also is an online student in the Specific Ministry Program at Concordia Seminary operated by the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported that Ellefson’s studies illustrate why distance learning programs at seminaries have a growing popularity nationwide, allowing students to attend divinity schools without uprooting their lives. Even in a non-traditional learning setting, Ellefson is a non-traditional student given his band has recorded albums with titles such as “Killing Is My Business … And Business Is Good!” The curious mix of rock and religion has been part of Ellefson’s life since childhood. Growing up in Minnesota, his family drove from their farm to Our Savior’s Lutheran Church each Sunday. Ellefson, now 47, was confirmed there at age 16. A few years later, in the summer of 1983, Ellefson moved to Los Angeles and within a week of his arrival had formed Megadeth, named for the unit of measurement equal to the death of 1 million people by nuclear explosion. Soon, he was playing bass on stage with other metal bands such as Metallica and Slayer. The rock star lifestyle caught up with Ellefson by the time he was 25. He entered a 12-step recovery program and was reintroduced to his faith. And he embraced it. Ellefson moved to Arizona, married and had children. He joined Shepherd of the Desert Lutheran Church, a Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod congregation in Scottsdale. “I came from a good family, not a broken home,” said Ellefson, 47. “That became a model for me, and I saw church at center of it.” Shepherd of the Desert pastor Jon Bjorgaard asked Ellefson to start a contemporary worship service. Ellefson began to write songs using lyrics from the Old Testament. “For a Christmas service, I remixed some classics, not quite in a Megadeth fashion, but in a pretty heavy rock fashion,” Ellefson said. He started a new music ministry at the church and called it MEGA Life. It became so popular that Shepherd of the Desert bought a new space for the ministry. Last year, Bjorgaard asked Ellefson and MEGA Life director Jeremy DaPena to enroll in Concordia’s Specific Ministry Program. “Most people want to become a rock star,” Bjorgaard said. “David’s a rock star who wants to become a pastor.” After two years at Concordia, Ellefson will be eligible for ordination. More here.
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Controversy
As this news report from PBS shows, Claremont Lincoln University, a graduate school in California, is the first in the United States to bring together Christians, Jews and Muslims in the same classrooms to educate the future leaders of churches, synagogues and mosques. Claremont Lincoln is actually the creation of a much older institution, United Methodist-affiliated Claremont School of Theology, founded in 1885.  It partnered with Southern California’s Academy of Jewish Religion and the Islamic Center of Southern California to form this new school. Students attending this school can get master’s degrees in divinity, rabbinic studies and Muslim counseling. You can watch the report here.   hmmmm… thoughts? Todd
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Controversy
According to PewForum.org:  In a bow to the growing diversity of America’s religious landscape, the Claremont School of Theology, a Christian institution with long ties to the Methodist Church, will add clerical training for Muslims and Jews to its curriculum this fall, to become, in a sense, the first truly multi-faith American seminary. The transition upends centuries of tradition in which seminaries have hewn not just to single faiths but often to single denominations within those faiths. Eventually, Claremont hopes to add clerical programs for Buddhists and Hindus. Huh? Why? Is it a money thing to keep the ‘seminary’ alive? Is it a politically correct thing? Where is the United Methodist Church in all of this?  (According to Wikipedia, Claremont is one of 13 approved seminaries affiliated with the United Methodist Church… Claremont’s website seems to back that up). Here’s what the Claremont website says about the change:

Affiliated with The United Methodist Church, Claremont School of Theology has a long history of educating religious leaders. Founded in 1885, the School embraced an ecumenical vision upon its move to Claremont, California, in 1957. Today, it is making a similar adjustment of vision, to meet the cultural and religious demands of a world in transition.

While maintaining a strong School of Theology to prepare Christian ministers, Claremont is developing other schools to prepare teachers, counselors, scholars and community leaders for the interreligious realities of the 21st Century. We call this plan the University Project.

Also from the Claremont website:

We envision a model of theological education in which students are educated rigorously and intensively in their own religious traditions and in contact with the other religious traditions that are thriving throughout our society.  We aim to instill our students with a strong sense of their own religious identities and the integrity of the religious traditions that they represent, while simultaneously teaching them to recognize the legitimacy and integrity of the other religious traditions which they will encounter at Claremont and the world beyond.

According to Jerry Campbell, President of the school:

Some times, change seems glacial in its pace.  And at others, it hits like an avalanche.  Today, I am invigorated by the rush of change coming to Claremont, and we’re running as fast as we can to keep one step ahead of it all!

Your thoughts? Todd
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Leadership
Shannon O’Dell shares five things that he thinks they don’t teach in seminary, but they should.  See if you agree: #1 How to Communicate Vision #2 How to Lead a Staff #3 How to “Exhort” the Church Bully #4 How to Handle membership Loss #5 How to Love Your Wife as Christ Loved the Church What do you think?  How did seminary best prepare you for day-to-day ministry?  How did seminary fail to prepare you for day-to-day ministry? Todd —Read more here at Shannon’s blog; as well as see a video with Ed Youg & Ed Young Sr. addressing these issues.
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