Invitation to a Conversation - about seminary for "laypeople"
Here's the invitation:
Brian, I talked to you after your presentation to church leaders in Iowa City several weeks ago. I noted your comment that lay people are flocking to seminaries seeking spiritual and theological deepening, and asked if there are any venues for this kind of learning outside the option of seminary. You asked if I could write and tell you what I would hope for or imagine. My answers are not very specific, but here are my thoughts.
1) Could there be a place of theological and spiritual reflection that, instead of primarily training for a pastorate, would focus on training people for engaging the workplace, their communities and families?
2) I also imagine a safe place for questions for Christians or seekers struggling to deepen their faith and understanding.
3) I also see a need for a place to learn practices which help free us from what binds us and help us receive God’s love and enable us to offer it to others.
4) A place to be in healthy dialogue with those of other perspectives (i.e. other denominations, other faiths, and those outside established faith traditions).
When I read my list it occurs to me that maybe that is what church is for . . . but I think what I’m hoping for is more than what churches can really offer.
I'd love to see folks pick this up for discussion on my facebook page here:
What would you be looking for in a seminary for "normal" people?
Have you experienced this kind of learning environment somewhere already that you can share about?
Have you see this sort of learning community provided by churches?