Wednesday, June 9, 2021

Seminary Isn't Scary Podcast

When I graduated from high school nearly 3 decades ago the plan was to go into ministry. Had I stayed on the path I'd now have quite a bit of experience in that role, but that wasn't to be. I made some missteps along the way, and one of them was not going to seminary. I completed a Bachelor of Ministry (BMin) degree at Harding University, was ordained the day after graduation, and in just a little over a year was off to Brazil for mission work. In retrospect I see that more time and reflection would have helped heal some personal trauma and prepared my heart for what I was about to do. As a result, I spent only a few short years in Brazil, and was out of full time ministry not long after returning to the states. Last year (2020), while the pandemic was keeping me in relative isolation, I discovered that Abilene Christian University Graduate School of Theology has precisely the Master of Divinity (MDiv) program that I've been wanting to do. 

The ACU GST MDiv can be done almost entirely online, with only a requirement of 4 separate weeks of intensives on campus over the course of 4 years. What really attracted me were the Hebrew and Greek requirements, something we don't find very often any more at seminaries. If the courses are offered they are often optional, and as someone who continues to maintain a keen interest in the Bible, its interpretation, and its impact on people and society, this matters to me.

Below are the first 7 episodes of a podcast that ACU GST has produced, interviewing different professors and people connected to the seminary about their experiences. If you're considering seminary, whether at ACU or elsewhere, you might find these interesting.

One disclaimer though: although ACU GST is fairly progressive for an evangelical seminary, accepting critical scholarship and not requiring and creedal statement or position from students, it may not be the best place for every Unitarian Universalist. I have classmates from evangelical and mainline Protestant traditions, and the professors show a concern for us thinking clearly and developing as people rather than holding to their beliefs. At the same time, a UU with little or no interest in the Bible and Christianity would be better suited looking to Meadville Lombard Theological School or Starr King School for the Ministry. Both of those are affiliated with Unitarian Universalism.