Seminary Program

I was reminded that this blog is supposed to be about things I’m learning about in seminary. I was made aware of two websites that specifically discuss going to and being in seminary. Here they are:

Just in case there are some of you out there who are interested in some of the more programmatic parts of my seminary ‘career,’ I thought I’d do a blog on that stuff.

I am currently attending Western Seminary in Portland, Oregon. The seminary is at the top of Hawthorne Blvd – the center of Portland’s Post-Modern community, it seems. My initial program was the Masters of Divinity (M.Div.), which is the ‘traditional’ professional degree for pastoral ministry. M.Div. programs include courses in Bible survey, Systematic Theology, practical skills, church history, original languages (Hebrew and Greek), and some electives to refine the seminarian’s knowledge base. What I really enjoy about Western’s program is that they require several Spiritual Formation courses.

After about a year, I could project that the money was running out. That meant that I would have to scale my seminary experience back. This was a hard pill to swallow, on many levels. But it turned out that I could fulfill the requirements of another degree in the time-money I had left.
That degree is the Masters of Arts in Exegetical Theology (M.A.E.T.). The MAET is basically the M.Div. without the practical ministry courses. It is useful for those who are headed for the Masters of Theology (Th.M.) degree. Personally, I’m going to miss those practical ministry courses but my plan is to keep plugging away at them part-time until I can get the M.Div.

Another unique feature of Western’s program is the “Functional” language track. Western had noticed that even the most brilliant language students, once they got into pastoral ministry, lost much of their language skills. Most seminary graduates settle into relying on lexicons, grammars, and (these days) software such as Logos or Bibleworks. Well, if that’s the case, said the Sages of Western, then why don’t we just prepare our students for what they will actually be doing in ministry? So Western offers two tracks: the “Foundational” (traditional) and the “Functional” (tool-intensive). I am in the Functional track.

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