Mark Ramseth of Trinity Lutheran Seminary in Columbus, Ohio speaks to the Conference of Bishops.
All eight seminary presidents are here. A lot has changed since the 1995 Study of Theological Education. Rising debt loads. The rise of distributed education.
Luther is at the forefront of distributed learning. Michael Cooper White says Gettysburg is experimenting. Rollie Martinson is doing research in DL in other disciplines such as medical school and law school. There is not agreement on DL, but mutual respect and a willingness to adapt.
Bishop Jon Anderson describes the situation as a “quadruple option” play they used to run in football. The quarterback didn’t really know where the ball was going until the play began. Those, however, who spend their energy trying to recreate the past are lost. We can only go forward. Bishop Wayne Miller says we’re going to be in “experimentation-reflection-adaptation mode” for some time.
President Bliese says DL has allowed us to deliver theological education deeply into context. The medical community is finding this very beneficial.
Stan Olson: “By what criteria would we suggest closing a seminary?” Income, debt, enrollment, geography, sellability?
Phyllis Anderson says seminaries are like a fine pocket watch. It has to have the same number of parts as Big Ben, but in microcosm. Seminaries are small. PLTS has 200 students. Luther has 800. If you add the enrollment of all eight seminaries, it’s still less than the enrollment at California Lutheran University.
There are 250 theological schools in the U.S. 180 are freestanding. At least half of those 180 have been in deficits in the last few years. We are watching the experience of Southern Seminary moving into Lenoir-Rhyne with interest.
LSTC and Valparaiso University have been in dialog. VU provides more theology students to our eight seminaries than any other Lutheran university. Starting January 1 VU will have a faculty member officing at LSTC. Shared courses will begin in September 2012.
The conversation helped me understand the challenges and opportunities of theological education in this rapidly changing context.
Michael Rinehart, bishop
Texas-Louisiana Gulf Coast Synod
Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
12941 1-45 North Freeway, Suite #210
Houston, TX 77060-1243
“When you are confronted by a complex, emergent problem, don’t try to pick out the one lever that is the key to the whole thing. There is no one lever. Instead, try to reform whole institutions and hope that by getting the long-term fundamentals right you’ll set off a positive cascade to reverse the negative ones. There are six or seven big institutions that are fundamentally diseased, from government to banking to housing to entitlements and the tax code.”
– David Brooks, as quoted by Stan Olson, asking bishops to consider it in light of theological education.
ECUSA Bishop Katharine Jefforts Schori
The Episcopal Presiding Bishop sole this morning to the ELCA Conference d Bishops… “The Episcopal Church is present in 15 countries besides the United States… We are multilingual, multinational and multicultural…”
“We are in full communion with Moravians, the Church of Sweden… We are in dialog with Methodists and Presbyterians…”
Bishop Jim Mauney leads worship on Philippians 2 (above) and 3 (below) at the fall meeting of the Conference of Bishops.
“Beware of the dogs, beware of the evil workers, beware of those who mutilate the flesh! For it is we who are the circumcision, who worship in the Spirit of God and boast in Christ Jesus and have no confidence in the flesh— even though I, too, have reason for confidence in the flesh.”
Be one in the pack. We’re all potential dogs. In fact, we’re all mutts, saints an sinners in one. Christ has called all of us sinning dogs.
This from Pastor Kim at Our Savior’s Baton Rouge.
Babble: A New Generation of Parents
Celeste’s son lived for four years with undiagnosed hypertension, and, at the fragile age of five, underwent an auto kidney transfusion — a major surgery that might not have been needed if he were diagnosed at an earlier age. Knowing the key to diagnoses is blood pressure testing, Celeste founded the National Pediatric Blood Pressure Awareness Foundation, which calls for regular blood pressure testing of children three years or older. She is currently pushing for screenings at schools and public events in hopes that more children will be diagnosed and receive treatment for hypertension as soon as possible.
“The $5,000 prize will be donated to the National Pediatric Blood Pressure Awareness Foundation. This is a 501c3 non-profit organization that has a goal to educate on the important aspects of routine blood pressure screenings for kids. The NPBPAFwould be able to use the generous award to help us continue our educational program to ensure that all children have a chance to be successful. Our children are our future. Let’s give them every opportunity possible to succeed in school and life. Many thanks to Babble for allowing so many great mothers to be showcased for the phenomenal work they are doing. I feel truly honored to have my name among so many courageous women.”