God Must Have Preferred the Roman Empire [Questions That Haunt]

This week’s Question That Haunts comes from Judy:

I grew up in the church, though I don’t go any more. I’ve always wondered, of all times and all places, why Jesus? Why first century Palestine? I mean, if God was going to incarnate himself in just one human beings of all the billions of human beings who’ve lived, why a first century peasant carpenter. I remember Sunday school teachers giving us some answers for this when I was a kid, but I always found them unsatisfying. Do Christians believe there was something uniquely special about that time and place?

Thanks, Judy, for this question, just in time for Christmas.

It’s interesting that the comments from the original post immediately went to the question of incarnation. But that’s not really Judy’s question. (It is, however, the question of the latest #progGOD ChallengeWhy an Incarnation?) Judy’s question is theological, but it’s not a question about why there’s an incarnation, it’s a question of why God preferred that time and place for the all-important incarnation of himself. Here’s my take.

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What Seminary Education Ought To Be [Part Three]

Seminary education as we know it is a relatively recent phenomenon. It was only at the Council of Trent, called by the Catholic magesterium primarily to fight nascent Protestantism, that the seminary was invented. In the 23rd session, on July 15, 1546, the Council decreed that seminaries be established and start admitting boys as young as 12:

Besides the elements of a liberal education, the students are to be given professional knowledge to enable them to preach, to conduct Divine worship, and to administer the sacraments.

Not long after, the young Protestants followed suit, and since then we’ve had residential seminaries — not unlike other universities and graduate schools.

But for the 15 centuries prior to the Council of Trent, clergy were trained otherwise. How?, you ask. I’ll tell you:

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