CT is not his home. But we're glad Tom Giles is passing through. Having served CTi first as a "Christian History" intern and then as a CHRISTIANITY TODAY project editor, Tom Giles has spent the last 11 months in Bulgaria, living on the cheap (with friends) and reporting on Eastern European affairs for CT, News Network International, and Evangelical Missions Information Service. Beginning in January, Tom will further his education in Columbia University's graduate program in international affairs. But for a few months he's back at CT.
Tom's fresh facility with Bulgarian did not help him at all with his first assignment on his return to CT: to investigate the changing world of seminaries. Working with CT associate editor Timothy Morgan on this issue's cover story, Tom has talked to administrators of nine seminaries, as well as assorted students. He found those administrators eager to talk on the record about the challenges and problems seminaries face.
One trend both Tim and Tom discovered was the way women's presence in seminaries is changing theological education. Women, they report, tend to approach seminary "transformationally"-seeking to rewrite their lives, to discover their callings and gifts. Traditional seminary students (mostly males, mostly younger males) saw their education as career preparation, not necessarily as an occasion for personal exploration and discovery.
For a long time seminary alumni have complained that their degree programs did not really prepare them for pastoral ministry. (My own seminary failed to prepare me to handle cases of child abuse or to guide a church building program through zoning commission hearings.) Perhaps the women students sense that ministry is as much about what kind of person ...1
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