On #GivingTuesday, many of us are taking a moment to pause and think about to be people and institutions we are grateful for. — I especially like the call from www.GivingTuesday.org for people to take an “Unselfie” for a change…
In a time when many define Christianity in opposition to contemporary culture, and others opt out of it altogether, CST offers a more attractive vision. As a school, it has crafted a mission and identity that is broad and attractive, building upon three basic commitments:
• Interreligious. If ministry, leadership, and service are to be practiced in a multi-faith world, then one’s academic preparation should be carried out in that context as well. My colleagues and students include representatives from many different faith traditions, which means that each person learns to describe his or her identity in the context of a religiously plural world. It also means that we know each other’s faith traditions and become comfortable interacting with them. The quickest way to overcome stereotyping is to have close friendships with folks from many different religious traditions.
• Ecumenical. In its founding documents over 50 years ago, CST was given an ecumenical mission, one that has deeply formed our identity. My classes include members of the whole range of denominational and post-denominational Christian identities: progressives, evangelicals, emerging church leaders, African Methodist Episcopal, Korean Methodist Church, Presbyterian Church of Korea, and many others.
• Methodist. CST continues its affiliation with the United Methodist Church, drawing students from the Western Jurisdiction and from annual conferences around the world. Together with the whole Wesleyan family, we teach and help keep alive the radical gospel that John Wesley taught: combining personal and social holiness, resisting cheap grace, doing theology with and for the poor, the oppressed, and the marginalized.
Graduates from seminaries today will face challenges that are more complex, and a future that is more unsure, than previous generations of seminarians have encountered. It’s a privilege to be associated with a community that offers an education that learns from the past while being called toward the future of faith.