Comings and Goings is a blog written by Theology, Worship and Education Director Charles B. "Chip" Hardwick as he travels throughout the church. God is on the move out and about in the world, working to redeem all things in Jesus Christ. As we join this mission, by the power of the Spirit we see God on the move. This blog contains glimpses of how Chip finds this to be true in his comings and goings.
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I was in Dumaguete City, the Philippines a couple of weeks ago for a consultation on theological education in Asia. There were about twenty representatives from South Korea, Taiwan, Indonesia, the Philippines, and the United States. Most who were there were professors, but some denominational staff members, a bishop, and some mission co-workers were also present. The event was very well-coordinated by the World Mission Office for Asia.
The consultation produced a document which you can read here. Although focused on Asia, it was remarkable to me how much overlap there was between the Asian and US contexts.
For instance, I worked within a small group which discussed the issue of strengthening the connection between the academy and the church. All of the seminaries represented are from the Reformed tradition, with its staunch commitment to the excellent academic formation of pastors. However, the various denominations present also struggle with how seminaries can major on producing the pastors the church currently needs, and minor on producing the scholars the academy needs.
One very thought-provoking idea which was not included in the final version of the report was that seminaries could encourage professors to work in churches during their sabbaticals, rather than writing books and articles. This idea would necessitate all sorts of changes in theological education (most obviously modifying the criteria for tenure) but it would enliven classroom discussions and create much more tangible connections between the seminaries and the local church.
Please pray with me that the Holy Spirit will enliven the conversations about this consultation at seminaries in Asia and beyond.