Friday, April 22, 2011

A Few More Meadville/Lombard Thoughts

I don't have long.  There is hop-planting to be done and a sermon to be written.  However, I direct your attention to two very interesting comments to my last post on the subject of Meadville/Lombard.  They both bring up interesting points.  One is that there is a great deal of adjustment going on in the UUA about what the professional ministry is and is for.  This, naturally, creates challenges for its two seminaries.  The other riffs off of that and brings to mind the obvious financial stresses on our seminaries.  The Hyde Park Cluster, for example, has seen its share of suffering all around.  It isn't just Meadville/Lombard.  In fact, some seminaries are in much worse shape.

I, too, am quite proud of my seminary and its willingness to explore various options.  However, the fact remains that the school presents itself (at least to me) as a series of odd and unconnected episodes.  There always seems to be a "great new vision" or a "cutting edge program" being unveiled.  It is tiring.  What I want to know is that things are going along in the usual boring seminary way.  Are there still courses being taught?  Will there be a library?  Where will the seminary and the library be? Scott Wells and Bill Baar both note at their blogs that there appears to be a lack of transparency.  I would like to say otherwise, but instead I am forced to agree.

Perhaps the next great press release/email should lay a few more cards on the table (past talking points).  How is M/L financially?  When I ask this, I would like an answer with more than a word or two.  Maybe some broad numbers would be helpful.  Also, what is the plan for a location?  I am genuinely interested.  Are all courses going to be taught on line and in intensives now?  That's fine.  Just tell me why.  Again, more than a couple sentences would be nice.  So, too would be a practical (rather than theological and pedagogical) answer.

I end with a confession.  About halfway through my DMin in Preaching program (as a student at Chicago Theological Seminary across the street from M/L) I had the opportunity to explain my preaching project to my advisor and some of my fellow students.  I talked to them for some time before I realized they had no idea what I was on about.  They were frustrated and so was I.  It turns out, I wasn't making sense to anyone but me!  In order to graduate I had to make sense.  It is as simple as that.  I am sure that M/L has a plan and that it makes sense to them.  However, if they want me to buy in to it, they have to do a much better job of explaining.

Here is a link to Boy in the Bands where there is a much more extensive conversation

Here is a link to Pfarrer Streccius...

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