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The problem with seminary education

We prize education. Generally speaking, the more you know in a discipline, the more valuable your work. I knew I needed to learn how to manage and lead better, so in 1987 I got my MBA. What a great move it was for me! And many of you have had a similar positive experience with education.  …
By Seth Barnes
We prize education. Generally speaking, the more you know in a discipline, the more valuable your work. I knew I needed to learn how to manage and lead better, so in 1987 I got my MBA. What a great move it was for me! And many of you have had a similar positive experience with education.
 
But in the spiritual realm, “knowledge puffs up.” I like the New Living Translation of 1 Cor. 8:1, which says, “while knowledge makes us feel important, it is love that strengthens the church.”
 
It’s true. When I flaunt my knowledge of a subject, it’s ego. I’m looking for a crutch – something to make me feel better about myself, so I fall back on all the information I’ve acquired.
 
But love is a different animal. Is there any school that will give you a degree in loving better? It would be nice – I’d like to find a shortcut. Most of the time, growing more loving feels like work.

Kevin Rubottom shared with me the story* of the first African to get a Doctorate in Germany – John Mbiti. When he returned home, his tribe threw a great party to celebrate his achievement.  
 
During the ceremony, a woman in the crowd became possessed by a spirit. 

The tribe elder said to him, “Now that you have studied the Bible in Germany, come, cast out the evil spirit from this woman.” 
 
“Well,” said Mbiti, “As you know, I studied with Bultmann. He says there are no evil spirits. He has de-mythologized all.” 
 
Perplexed, the crowd replied, “What was the good of studying in Europe? Before, you could heal. Now, you cannot.”
 
What does your spirituality rest in? If it’s knowledge, perhaps it’s time to do a gut check.

*From RS Sugirtharajah

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