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The Rev. Timothy Cargal, Ph.D., serves as the Coordinator, Preparation for Ministry/Exams for Mid Council Ministries of the Office of the General Assembly.

“... the Land that I Will Show You” is the blog of the Office of Preparation for Ministry/Examinations of the Presbyterian Church (USA). This blog is designed to serve as a resource for those discerning and preparing for a call to the ministry of Word and Sacrament as ordained teaching elders of the church. It will also provide a place for reflecting on and dialoging about the changing context of pastoral ministry in the early 21st century.

For quick announcements about changes or developments in the preparation process, dates related to exams or other key events, discussion boards, surveys, etc., you can follow us on Facebook at “Preparing for Presbyterian Ministry.”

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November 29, 2011

"Pastor-Theologians" and "Practicing Lawyers"

Theory and PracticeA recent article in The New York Times dealing with law schools and the legal profession (“What They Don’t Teach Law Students: Lawyering”) reminded me a good bit of some discussions I sometimes hear about seminaries.

The article talked about how the selection criteria for law school faculties often do not emphasize, or perhaps even include, experience as a practicing lawyer. Even though they are technically professional schools, the curriculum emphasizes legal theory—both archaic (stressing precedents laid down a century or more ago) and esoteric (incorporating postmodernism and deconstructionism)—rather than the day-in and day-out activities performed by ...


November 21, 2011

Exercising Judgment

Domenico Fetti, detail of The Parable of the Mote and the Beam, c. 1619I’ve recently been spending some time in Matthew 7, and I must say that I couldn’t get past the very first verse of the chapter without recalling a sentiment I often encounter in my work with those engaged in the preparation for ministry process from all sides: “Don’t judge, so that you won’t be judged.” (Common English Bible, here and throughout this post) Admittedly I don’t often hear it put in precisely those words. Usually the phrasing is more like, “Who is in a position to judge the Spirit’s call on another person’s ...