Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Seminary Week 2

Okay, okay. I'm alright! Don't panic. 

I am alive and well, just still trying to find the time and place to write blogs with so much verbal energy going into my coursework. Which, by the way, I love.

I love it, even if, at times, it makes me feel profoundly stupid. Take my discussion questions from my Missional Ecclesiology class. Four questions were asked, and we were required to respond to three of them. Each question (and I am not exaggerating!) took me like 15 minutes to understand. After reading the second question, my first impulse was to put it into Google-Translate. And then I realized the question was in English. Oi.

So David (dear beloved husband of mine) suggested that I post one of the questions and my response, just to give you a taste of the agony/ecstasy that is seminary. So, without further ado, here it goes. The question was based on Part II of An Introduction to Ecclesiology by Kärkäinen (whose name I can finally spell without looking at the book cover--but that alone was a feat!)
Describe Pannenerg’s position on individual vs. corporeal salvation. While some ecclesial traditions have long maintained the necessity of church participation for salvation, Protestants have historically championed individual salvation. Does the decline of Christendom arrangement in North America collapse the binary: individual vs. corporeal?
Did you have to reread that? Honestly, I know what every word in those sentences means, and I still did not understand it without great effort. And I've actually done the reading! So, anyway, here is my attempt at a response:
While most theologians prioritize individual salvation before ecclesiology, Pannenberg believes that individual salvation cannot be attained apart from the church because the church is the “bearer of the Spirit of God and God’s grace.” (p. 114) Furthermore, Pannenberg connects the idea of election to corporeal rather than individual salvation. In my opinion, the decline of Christendom in North America does not so much collapse the binary as ignore it all together. Pannenberg views the individual and the church as integrally connected, which would necessitate a binary understanding of salvation; however the North American church only speaks of one type of salvation (the individual). That is to say, while Pannenberg views the church as the elect, which gathers individuals, North Americans view the church as the place where the elect gather. 
I read the question to David and he laughed out loud. Then he said, "Jenn, you know everyone is basically bluffing their responses, right?" As the seasoned seminarian in  the family, I chose to take his word for it. Then I read him my response and he said, "Well, I don't know if it's right or wrong, but it sure sounds scholarly."

Well, I can bluff with the best of them!

However, such writing really makes me miss the sublime art of blogging, where I don't have to bluff because, as they say, the truth is stranger than fiction.

Speaking of which, why is that when David is away a service light comes on in the car, two sinks get clogged, the refrigerator starts leaking, the water bill is inflated by (no kidding) 2000%, and the scanner (which I need to use for my classes) decides to end its relationship with my computer? Oh, and Chandler thinks he has Strep throat, and now that he mentions it, my throat is feeling a bit scratchy, too.

Fortunately, Chandler's computer is still on speaking terms with the printer, so we scan my course work into his computer, and then he e-mails it to me. That's how this inductive Bible Study got turned in on time:

So given the fact that my life has been overtaken by seminary, I suspect that at least one blog post a week (for the next while) will pertain to my studies. But I'm gonna do my best to write at least one non-school-related post each week; I promise. 


  1. I think some words are developed so a writer can ramble on and on and really say nothing! Your clarity is the best way to say something.