Educating Clergy: Teaching Practices and Pastoral Imagination

By Sedgwick, Timothy F. | Anglican Theological Review, Winter 2007 | Go to article overview

Educating Clergy: Teaching Practices and Pastoral Imagination


Sedgwick, Timothy F., Anglican Theological Review


Educating Clergy: Teaching Practices and Pastoral Imagination. By Charles R. Foster, Lisa K. Dahill, Laurence A. Golemon, and Barbara Wang Tolentino. San Francisco, Calif.: Jossey-Bass, 2006. xx + 430 pp. $40.00 (cloth).

Educating Clergy is the first of a series of books that "reports the results of The Carnegie Foundation tor the Advancement of Teaching's Preparation for the Professions Program" (p. vii). supported also by the Atlantic Philanthropies and the Lilly Foundation. Following the series's central mission of preparation of professionals, subsequent books are to address educating engineers, lawyers, nurses, anil physicians. Given their responsibilities for teaching and for curriculum as a whole, faculty deans and presidents of seminaries and all seminary professors are obligated to read this book.

In the last twenty-five years individual scholars have made specific contributions towards understanding theological education, often offering specific proposals. Educating Clergy is not one more of such studies or proposals. Instead, it offers a comprehensive description of theological education in the United States historically and as a mutter of contemporary practice. The description is indeed impressive as it is informed by survey data from half of all United States and Canadian seminary educators; more specific survey results from faculty, students, and alumni and alumnae from a cross section of eighteen Jewish and Christian seminaries; interviews with faculty, students, and administrators; observations of classes; and participation in the life of ten of the eighteen seminaries (p. 15).

Educating Clergy uses Craig Dykstra's image to envision the end of theological education as developing the pastoral imagination of clergy persons so that they may understand, appropriate, and pass on their religious faith to a present generation of people. This, claim the authors, requires the integration of three distinct dimensions of education: the cognitive or intellectual, the practical development of skills, and the normative as a matter of identity formation (pp. 5-10). Such education is the outcome of three different curricula (pp. 49-50): the explicit curriculum that is taught in class: the implicit curriculum of the life of the community: and the mill curriculum that is not taught al all.

Four pedagogies are seen as central to this education. Each is developed in a separate chapter through extended description and analysis of how master teachers teach (part 2, pp. 67-186). Pedagogies of interpretation include not only considering the reading of written texts, but also persons or events in the present. Pedagogies of formation are about awareness and effecting the presence of God in our lives, for example, through the way a text is read or through the play of song, prayer, and reflection. …

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