But Jesus is the Way as well as the Truth. The way the gospel is conveyed is as much a part of the kingdom as the truth presented. Why are pastors experts on the truth and dropouts on the way?
– The Contemplative Pastor by Eugene Peterson (p. 35)
Seminaries are good at training scholars or, like Peterson writes, “experts on the truth.” But should pastors really be scholars? Don’t get me wrong, I love the depth of theology, the paradox, the complexity. Seminary students need to be challenged to think deeply and critically so we don’t turn into the next Fred Phelps, Terry Jones or Pat Robertson but do we really need to be theological experts to see that God is not calling us to hate gay people, burn the Qur’an or do anything that Pat Robertson says?
After only one semester of seminary courses, I can see I will probably not be a scholar in biblical studies or church history or Hebrew or systematic theology. Instead…
- I want to learn to be humble: I will never know everything.
- I want to learn how to translate what the scholars are telling me into ideas that normal people can understand (including me).
- I want to learn how to lead and not just how to learn.
- I want to be immersed in The Story…and claim my place in God’s narrative.
- More than anything, I want to grow as a follower of The Way, a disciple of Jesus.