Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Expectation in divinity education

"I simply assumed that the divinity school was where you went to investigate whether the stuff Christians say they believe is true. [...] It may seem quite inconceivable, but I had not figured out what it meant to go to a divinity school. It had not come home to me that divinity schools were where people go to study for the ministry. Indeed I was quite surprised to learn that many of my fellow students were there to become ministers. I even discovered that I was expected to work in a church."
(Stanley Hauerwas, Hannah's Child: A Theologian Memoir [UK: SCM, 2010], 48. Emphasis added.)

The above passages were strangely affirming when I read them. There is the so-called 'Field Education' that I, as a divinity student, have to go through. I have no problem with such program since it exposes students to the 'field'. However, what I noticed is that the program is crafted in a way that meant only to produce 'ministers' or church-workers.

6 comments:

jedibaba said...

Well I guess it depends on the mission of the school. My theological alma mater, Regent, sought to prepare believers for whatever they were called to do whether in the church or in the world.

Sze Zeng said...

Hi Soo Inn,

TTC is definitely not a Regent or Fuller. Due to the Field Education program, it got me wondering if I'm in the right place....

Alex Tang said...

That's the state of theological education today. The church has also tried to follow the secular world. Medical school produces professional medical practitioner so theological school produces professional ministers. This is what happens when ministers want to be a professional rather than a vocation!

Nowadays, a M.Div is just a union card.

Sze Zeng said...

Hi Alex,

It got me thinking since last week, is present theological education simply a manifestation of capitalism? With its focus to 'produce' more as a mark of 'productivity. So it is measured in GDP 'Gross Divinity Product'...

And because I hold very different view with some curriculum which I think pseudo-academic, my overall grade is below the qualification to do postgraduate studies at TTC.

Alex Tang said...

Sze Zeng,

Surely you would have realised by now that not only our theological education is a manifestation of capitalism (and may I add too materialism). Our whole theological system is a manifestation of capitalism (and materialism).

Have you watched/listen to the lecture by Brian Walsh and Sylvia Keesmaat "Outside of a small circle of friends" given in A Theological Dialogue with N.T.Wright at Wheaton?

Sze Zeng said...

Alex,

Yes, I do see that... Check out a post I just wrote. I wrote it in tremble.. (http://szezeng.blogspot.com/2011/01/present-condition-of-church-religion.html)

Yes, I listened to Walsh's and Keesmaat's talk. If we extend their critique further, that includes the means by which N.T. Wright chose to circulate his works (by selling them through evangelical press, identify himself as an "conservative evangelical among the liberal bishops" in a major conference when he was still a bishop, etc).