I first want to say that my time at PTS has been awesome! I have been an ordained Baptist minister for more than 20 years. I have found that my experience here has enhanced and informed every aspect of my ministry. The following is a snap shot of what I have learned from various gifted professors here. Dr. Dierdre Hainsworth, assistant professor of ethics and director of the Center for Business, Religion and Public Life, has invited my thinking to the consideration of how contemporary Christianity and public life can have synergy. Dr. Audrey Thompson has shown me the impact the African American pulpit has had as a political driving force for the social and economic advancement of a people. Dr. Ron Cole-Turner, professor of theology and ethics, has put me on a path of understanding in the face of the advancement of science. Dr. Susan Kendell, director of the Doctor of Ministry Program, has introduced me into considering the viewpoint of the female ‘other’ as well as looking at the Bible and Christianity through the lens of the silent, considering additionally the voices that are not heard. Dr. Scott Sunquist, professor of world Christianity has revealed to me that true missions must consider the language and culture of the people. Dr. Craig Barnes, professor of leadership and ministry, has taught me how to be present in the lives of those that need help and counsel. Dr. Edwin Chr. van Driel has moved me to consider that the church as a covenant people has everything to do with salvation. Finally, but not comprehensively, Dr. Ron Peters, former professor of church and society and urban ministry, now president of the Interdenominational Theological Center in Atlanta, gave me pride in exposing me to black theology, giving me permission to affirm my own identity and place in the academy, while at the same time planting the seed to be one of the paradigm shifters for the church in a pluralistic and urbanizing America. I have learned that the term urban must be redefined from the black context toward an all-inclusive reality.
As a result of my time here I have been inspired to continue my studies and pursue a Ph.D. I would love to teach in an academic environment like PTS. Pittsburgh Theological Seminary has given me a wonderful, theological foundation to pursue continued education on my quest to become the preacher’s professor. I have learned to rethink my own ministerial background and tradition and recognize it as one experience and not the whole of Christianity. Likewise, our professors have opened my eyes to see the larger context of humanity and to consider the eschatological plan of God. With this eschatological understanding as a starting point, theologians of today can scale back from the local and personal context to begin the work of discerning our part in the whole plan. This can inform our thinking, while we exegete society today and consider the fluidity of our identity. Indeed I am better for having matriculated through this great place.
Eric McIntosh, Senior M.Div.