“Imagine an institution that requires its leaders to attend not only college, but graduate school. Imagine that the graduate school in question is constitutionally forbidden from receiving any form of government aid, that it typically requires three years of full-time schooling for the diploma, that the nature of the schooling bears almost no resemblance to the job in question, and that the pay for graduates is far lower than other professions. You have just imagined the relationship between the Christian Church and her seminaries.”
~ From “The Seminary Bubble” by Jerry Bowyer. Continue reading here.
I’m currently in my third year of seminary. So the intense financial, physical, relational, emotional, psychological, and (am I allowed to say it?) spiritual strain of the seminary experience is particularly vivid to me (and my wife) right now. This awareness comes not only from personal experience–although that’s my primary source–but also from the stories of many of my peers. Some of those stories are rather heart-wrenching.
I’m recuringly bothered by this. I’m troubling with how straining the seminary experience typically is and how little attention the church (speaking broadly here) seems to be giving to this problem. To be blunt, it seems that many are actually pretty oblivious to the problems. And, mind you, these seminarians are the future leaders of the Church who are putting themselves through this because of their heart for and call to serve her.
I don’t have a solution to offer for this multifaceted dilemma (I’m just well aware that there’s a problem). So, I suppose I’m leaving this post in a bit of a depressing mood (sorry). However, my goal is not to be a “Debbie downer,” but to bring some awareness to this issue.