Thursday, April 16, 2009

The Underground Seminary

A project of the Mulberry House.

EDIT on 9/12/2009: Okay, we admit it... we have not officially launched this neat idea. We tried to, sort of, but in the midst of all the tangled and strenuous efforts we've been making to the house, this project has been postponed a bit. Give us some time and patience, and we will rock this idea like nobody's business!

Note: We are not THE Underground Seminary, but we are AN underground seminary.

Seminary is a great opportunity for people to go beyond the typical church level of education, but many of us are unable to exercise such an option. It is expensive, many of us are working folks who can’t really pull away and go to school at the moment, and some of us aren’t equipped educationally to undertake such a task.

These reasons should not stop us from continuing in our education.

We want to intentionally find ways to take higher education off the top shelf and share it with as many folks as are interested (average church-goers, seasoned scholars, interested neighbors, curious non-believers, etc).

Therefore, we have decided to start a seminary. We won't offer any degree programs... or certificates... or credentials of any kind. We simply wish to come together as a body with the unified commitment to continue growing in grace and knowledge.

Basically, we intend to gather around the Scripture, along with substantial scholarly works, and commit ourselves to studying together over time. This is intended to be more “advanced” than a small group Bible study, yet more accessible than actual seminary courses. Informal, small group studies that last 7-10 weeks (more or less).

We will recruit well-trained and qualified educators to facilitate our discussions and take us beyond typical small group discussion.

(Our project does bear striking similarities to Alternative Seminary in Philadelphia. Other similar resistance movements are popping up around the nation.)

This simple exercise will accomplish various things.

1) It will give seasoned experts, seminarians, and professors the opportunity to finally teach that class they’ve always dreamed of in a stress free atmosphere. No grades or credit hours or enrollment fees… just unrestrained, no holds barred intellectual stimulation!

2) It will provide a platform for ordinary folks to engage some of the mainstream Evangelical "blindspots." Karl Barth? Who’s that? Dorothy Day, John Howard Yoder, Walter Wink, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Walter Rauschenbusch, Walter Brueggemann (I never should have started a list, now I feel like I have randomly named folks). We hope to add some more dimensions to the discussion by exploring the works of scholars we simply don’t get in our Sunday School classes.

3)It will give committed Christians in the area a chance to sharpen their minds and expand their imaginations without having to enroll in a seminary program (We don’t seek to replace seminary degree programs; we merely wish to create a mechanism for continuing education here in our midst).

5) It will offer a simple and cost-effective way to dig deeper.

6) Come on… do you need more? It will be really, really, really fun.

If you are interested (at any level) contact us an let us know.

Also, keep an eye out for updates... we hope to post information about our upcoming classes soon.

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