“Habits create necessities through which imagination is required to do something different than you thought you were doing in the past. The developments of the virtues, and the discovery of virtues that we didn’t know we had, are a real resource for development of institutions that hopefully have promise for the future. Universities, for example, are constantly recreating themselves through basic habits”. – Stanley Hauerwas
How many years should a seminary training be? And what, again, are we trying to do by sending families and individuals off to seminary? What kind of people are we attempting to create?
Because it is a myth that schools and institutions and social webs of relations can rise above the reality that we are always being shaped; for better and worse; by subtle and not so subtle ways; by our practices and interactions with our environments. I recently had a disagreement with a professor who denied that the public university system had an goal of shaping people the way that say a private Christian school does. I take this opinion to be understandable but wrong in a terrible way and it’s naivity to demonstrate that we aren’t often aware of the way that exchanges of power work.
Just as the public university acts to enhance and sustain the American narrative, the Seminary should act to enhance and sustain the Christian narrative. The advantage of admitting this telos is that the Seminary need not hide the reality that it is trying to make people other than they are. It is trying to prepare priests and pastors to serve the Church according the tasks and skills the Spirit has given them. It also ought to train people in the Tradition that they represent.
The idea of forming people into something other than they are grates against our public understandings of what a person is and what education should do. “The rights-bearing-cogito/individual has intrinsic qualities that it is born with. These qualities need only freedom to become more fully itself. “Democracy” and the “free market” are aids in making room for this individual to come into being.”
That quite frankly is not what a Christian believes about what a human being is or is meant to be(come).
But as the modern seminary has based itself largely on the secular university system, it should be of little wonder that many seminarians come out looking not unlike a student of a public university,
only instead of knowing a little bit about a lot of natural science, math, history, etc…., the seminary grad knows a little bit about a lot of theology.