What is a seminary faculty?

As we discuss curriculum revision at my own seminary, I’ve found myself thinking anew about what it means to be part of a seminary faculty.  Watching events embroil other seminary faculties in troubling conflict, that question has gained considerable urgency.The question may seem abstract, but an answer might go some way toward answering the questions about the mission of today’s seminaries. The answer also has the potential for answering questions about the relationship between seminary boar … [Read more...]

Demonizing Difference and the Word Police

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One of the more disturbing developments in Progressive Christian thought of late is the demonizing of difference.  There was a time when we insisted on differences being acknowledged and everyone being heard.  That was true of advocacy for racial and ethnic differences.  It was also true of advocacy for differences in sex. Now, however, the trend is toward denying difference.Take, for example, the recent legislation tabled, but to be considered next year by the Diocese of Connecticut and wh … [Read more...]

Of Angels and Attorneys: General Theological Seminary

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When one of you has a grievance against another, does he dare go to law before the unrighteous instead of the saints? 2 Or do you not know that the saints will judge the world? And if the world is to be judged by you, are you incompetent to try trivial cases? 3 Do you not know that we are to judge angels? How much more, then, matters pertaining to this life!4 So if you have such cases, why do you lay them before those who have no standing in the church? 5 I say this to your shame. Can it be that … [Read more...]

The Hidden Curriculum at General Theological Seminary: On authority, power, and how they aren’t the same thing

When the Board of Trustees at General Theological Seminary announced that a public statement would be made in the late afternoon on Friday, I was fairly sure whatever was about to be said was not going to be good news. There were telltale signs: Public announcements of the kind made on Friday are never a good idea.  It’s hard to be heard accurately.  Everyone goes home over the weekend to digest the decision made without recourse to further conversation.  Announcements of that kind don’t allow yo … [Read more...]

When Mystery becomes Product: The Case of General Theological Seminary

The first seminaries originated after the Council of Trent.  They were a product of what is sometimes called the Counter-Reformation.  But they were not simply the reaction of the Roman Catholic Church to the criticisms of the Protestant Reformation.  They were also the product of profound disquiet in the Catholic Church itself.  The church was concerned that clergy were not deeply formed in the Christian faith.  They were not competent and they were not well prepared.  So, the Council called for … [Read more...]

On the Clock: General Theological Seminary and the Fate of Protestantism

In conversations with my students at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary, I've been asked, "Why does the crisis at The General Theological Seminary matter?  Doesn't The Episcopal Church have too many seminaries anyway?"  The answer, of course, is, "Yes, it does."Even if the in-coming class of seminary freshmen in The Episcopal Church was divided by the number of seminaries that the church has and those students were then assigned in equal numbers to the church's schools, that strategy c … [Read more...]

General Theological Seminary and Progressive Christianity

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The crisis at General Theological Seminary probably hasn’t been felt very far beyond the walls of The Episcopal Church. That’s not surprising. General is hardly a large seminary and, like most of our denomination’s seminaries, its faculty and student body is comparatively homogeneous, denominationally speaking. But the crisis has certainly rocked our little corner of the church-world. In part, because the dispute between General’s faculty and its President-Dean became the instant subject of conve … [Read more...]

Throw Like a Girl: The Power of Enacted Contradictions

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In a world fraught with an increasing number of bitter debates over what is theoretically possible, the best antidote to prejudice may still be the enacted contradiction.  That, at least, is one of the lessons to be learned from the Little League career of pitcher Mo’ne Davis who pitches at 70 mph and just threw history’s first shut out for Philadelphia’s Taney Dragons. She shatters sexist assumptions about what it means to “throw like a girl” and she does it all with composure that most adults f … [Read more...]


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