Yesterday my friend Jeff wrote about the potential for an organization or venue especially for pastors akin to the Society of Biblical Literature. Ultimately, he is concerned about the cultivation and nourishment of scholar-pastors. In particular, I think he is suggesting that pastors should be encouraged and have opportunities to produce scholarship of their own and share it with colleagues. I’m definitely intrigued by this idea.
This conversation reminded me of another idea that I’ve been mulling over recently. It’s now been over seven years since I graduated from seminary. I’ve maintained some of my academic chops by trying to work on a PhD, reading a lot on my own, attending conferences and continuing education, and trying to be more intentional about writing things other than sermons and lesson plans.
As I continue to ponder my next steps academically, one thing I have felt a longing to do is go back and reread the basic theological texts of my seminary education, and fill in gaps that I know I missed. I feel that my engagement with these texts will be much richer now that I have several years of experience in pastoral ministry. My temptation is to drop everything I can and start plowing through my library.
It occurs to me that this would be much better to do in a community of other pastors. I wonder if I could get a grant from the Lilly Endowment to create such a group. I wonder how many other pastors would be interested in such a venture. It would be great to get together a group of pastors with a wide spectrum of experience levels, ministry contexts, and theological perspectives. For it to work well, we would have to be intentional about creating sufficient time to do significant reading and we would need to hold each other accountable.
Would any of you pastors out there be interested in such a thing?