In the fall of '07, I applied to the Doctorate of Minsitry program at Columbia Theological Seminary. At the time, it seemed like a really good idea! But today, with a long list of things I need to do for the church, sermons to write, a house that needs decluttering, and a cold, it sounds like I've lost my mind!
But after giving a friend a "sermon" (or a word of encouragement) on not letting a spirit of fear keep you from doing something, I will go to Columbia on Sunday for two weeks of class! (Although I could argue what I'm struggling with is a spirit of wisdom!) My area of concentration will be Gospel and the Culture, which the CTS website describes this way:
Equipping leaders for a new, more faithful church, reformed not through accommodation to contemporary culture, but through conversion
Addressing a pervasive need in the church for a new paradigm for relating gospel and culture, this advanced degree program enables pastors to engage the mission field of North American, postmodern, post-Christian society. As you engage in disciplined cultural analysis, you will find that familiar biblical texts, doctrines, and ethics take on new meanings as they confront the challenges of today. And you will see the emergence of new readings of the church's situation and the human project alongside your own renewed and enlivened commitment to theological truths.
And my first class in this endeavor is "Public Speaking: Shaping Theological Voices for Civic Discourse." So in preparation for this class, we are supposed to bring examples of writing for public settings. And guess what, I have very little experience with speaking outside the church! So I am starting out behind! (and we won't mention how much of the reading I finished!)
Here is a description of the class:
Considers how Christians should think theologically about politics and the public and how Christians might speak in, as, and toward that public. Students will develop their own theologies of public engagement through an examination of the work of several prominent “public” theologians, including Dorothy Day, Reinhold Niebuhr, Martin Luther King, Jr., and Stanley Hauerwas.Which sounded much more exciting than the two books I've been struggling through!
And what really annoys me is that I sound like my kids complaining about a class!
Also, while I did manage weekly preaching and serving a church while at Vanderbilt, I'm a bit worried about balancing responsiblities.
So please keep me in your prayers! And for those of you who managed to both do your Doctorial studies and serve a church at the same time, I'd appreciate any words of advice!