Pittsburgh Theological Seminary

Bridging the Word and the World

1/26 2012

Reflections from a Graduating Senior

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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.

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1/19 2012

A Day in the Life of a Seminarian

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I type this after working a couple of hours at the library where professors come to get books on their latest papers and projects, where pastors come to get a deeper understanding of the text they will be preaching on, and where students come in and out working on their own projects for class and ministry. As I write this, I am aware of a lunch meeting going on. This meeting is comprised of students that meet weekly to listen to a guest speaker and then they pray for each other, the campus, and the world. I’ve spent the morning learning more about what Anselm was talking about with Boso in Cur Deus Homo in my Christology class. That class has friends that I have taken about a dozen classes with by now, friends that I look forward to seeing and enjoy sharing life with as we learn together. I type this before a family ministry class where we are learning about current family systems and approaches for ministry. Tomorrow I will be in Hebrew class constantly seeking to understand what God has said to the world and to me through this language.  

When I was considering seminary, PTS was not necessarily on my radar. However, during the Urbana Missions Conference in 2009, I met the President of the Seminary, Dr. Bill Carl. I enjoyed talking with him and learning about a seminary I had not previously considered. This school is committed to preparing leaders for the mission of the Church while also maintaining a strong emphasis on academic excellence. I am always challenged by what I am reading and hearing in class at PTS in transformative ways. I know that I came here in order to be equipped to minister more effectively wherever it is that God will send me after I leave this place. Every day I am challenged by the faithfulness of those who continue to seek excellence in their studies and who chose to engage in Christ centered relationships. I also give thanks for the constant prayers of my friends and family for this journey that God has set me on at PTS. I’m glad I decided to come here and I look forward to what God has yet in store for me.

Paul, Middler M.Div.

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1/12 2012

Education and Continuing Education at PTS

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We as students at Pittsburgh Seminary have access to amazing faculty, thousands of resources in the Barbour Library, and an invaluable and often overlooked opportunity—Continuing Education workshops and lectures. While these events are designed with pastors and lay leaders in mind, students are encouraged to attend and typically can do so FREE! These opportunities supplement what we learn in the classroom about the books of the Bible, the historical Church, and ministry around the globe. Upcoming is the timely topic of social media in ministry. During a four-part series the Rev. Dr. Deirdre King Hainsworth, assistant professor of ethics and director of the Center for Business, Religion and Public Life at PTS, will address “Building Faith Online: Using Social Media in Ministry.”

The Internet has been available publicly for 20 years, and since its beginning denominations and congregations have been working on ways to use it well. During this course, participants will examine the use of social media in the church, how it works, and what emerging trends are shaping where the technology is heading. The group will consider what happens to the Christian message when using social media to share the story of God’s work. Topics to be discussed include “Social Media Basics,” “Can the Gospel be Tweeted?” “The Church in Cyberspace,” and “Best Practices for Social Media in Ministry.” As church leaders in the 21st century, we are certain to gain insight from these workshops!

I encourage you to check out all of the Continuing Education events at Pittsburgh Seminary and consider how your “education” and “continuing education” will enable you to serve God in the world.

Melanie, Senior M.Div.

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