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Christian Scharen

Ministry 101

Educating clergy from the ground up.

When I look back upon seminary I invariably recall those few winsome professors who seamlessly held together love of learning and its role in ministry practice. They didn't just teach knowledge and practice—they somehow also modeled who I wanted to become, and they gently coached me in such a way as to know without knowing that at its best ministry calls for head, hands, and heart together. Because it shows how the best clergy educators do this integrative work, and much more besides, Educating Clergy: Teaching Practices and Pastoral Imagination by Chuck Foster and his colleagues at the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching is simply the most important study of theological education in a generation.1

This study is the first in a series of studies emerging from the Carnegie Foundation's Preparation for the Professions Program. The lead volume for this series of studies is titled Work and Integrity. There, Program Director William Sullivan divulges the Foundation's root concern driving the program as a whole. Sullivan argues that the professions are impoverished today because of the rise of a kind of "technical professionalism" that has lost its mooring from a normative orientation to the broader public good.2

The movement in the 18th century from apprenticeship training to training in the university is the most salient factor in the rise of this sort of "technical professionalism," according to Sullivan. Whereas in the apprenticeship model, the dominant method for training was face-to-face time with expert practitioners, with the rise of university training in the professions a separation developed between the formal-analytic parts and the clinical and practical parts of the curriculum. Sullivan argues that over time the positivist cast of the university has instituted a hierarchy of priority among what he calls "the three apprenticeships": first priority (usually with the most prestigious tenure positions) is the cognitive apprenticeship, followed by ...

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