From the Dean of Bexley Hall Seminary (Ohio), in his personal blog, “Crusty Old Dean,” on the situation at the General Theological Seminary after the Board of Trusties refused to reconsider their decision to rid the seminary of the eight professors. Click the link to read the post.
Fear leads to believing control works. Fear leads to flailing around attempting to find a solution, any solution, any shiny thing, whether based on rational, calm consideration or not and if not generally only leads to continued failure. Wisdom is set down and forgotten. Laudable assertions and beliefs and convictions fall by the wayside. We are in the midst of chaos born of fear in this Church of ours.
The institutional decisions and directions I’ve seen over the last decade within my Church make me believe that we are in an eddy swirling around and around and having no clue how to get out of it. I don’t know whether we honestly want to get out… whether we want to succeed… whether we want to be a part of what God is doing all around. I hope, truly, that I am very wrong.
Last week I attended a conference full of young pastors of congregations in New York City that are thriving – tens of thousands in their congregations and dramatically growing. (It is good to learn from those who are succeeding in these new contexts!) They are joyful, excited about the Gospel and their people, and they pastor congregations that are the same. My inclination is to want to be a part of them – in all their disjointed glory. The Body of Christ is alive and well, but the question is whether we want to be a part of it or not. Thankfully, my parish decides to to be a part, even if imperfectly. I choose to be a part, even if imperfectly, but there are consequences.
The very sad thing is that I have heard from a number of priests, alumni of GTS, who are afraid – yes afraid – to say anything publicly for fear of what will come their way from ecclesiastical authorities. I well understand this! How ironic. The very people in this Church who screamed through the ’70’s, ’80’s, ’90’s, “Speak truth to power”… well, they did until those screaming found themselves to be “the power”, and, well, there goes any tolerance for “Speaking truth…”
Oh yes, we will come through this. We will be an example. We will teach, something. The decision is ours as to what we will example and teach. What we decide will determine whether what we example and teach lead to the good or the bad.