Seminary is really quite extraordinary. Think about it: on a regular basis I would gather some of my peers to discuss and dissect some of the deepest, most significant, and challenging ideas we’ve ever encountered. When I graduated in May, one of my most inward fears was that I would somehow lose that community of learning. Anyone who works in a church knows that you are often so busy planning, preparing, and organizing events for congregants that you rarely get to engage in a text simply for the sake of engagement. Midrash & a Meal will allow me the opportunity to continue to participate in a community of learning with peers.
I recently finished our text for Thursday, Ross Douthat’s Bad Religion: How We Become a Nation of Heretics. I was struck my his analysis of the current state of American Christianity, and especially his exploration of the current trends in Christian scholarship, the proponents of the so-called “prosperity gospel”, and his insights into the conflation of American patriotism with Christian theology. While I agreed with a good amount of analyses, I also feel that he is operating under an idealized, modern-era worldview in which the litmus test of success for Christianity is institutional church attendance. Perhaps Douthat could have also explored smaller, organic expressions of Christian faith that have arisen in our postmodern context.
I am so looking forward to the reciprocal dialogue, mutual agreement, cordial disagreement, and all-around beneficial conversation with other members of the Central community of faith at Midrash & a Meal.
Tyler Tankersley 2012 M.Div.
“The vocation of the “pastor-theologian” is one that appeals deeply to my personal sense of calling. I have never felt particularly gifted as a “shepherd pastor,” or a “CEO pastor,” but have always had an abiding spiritual curiosity that has led me to seek God both intellectually and in community. Working on a Master of Arts in Theological Studies degree at Central gave me the valuable freedom to explore theology and biblical studies more deeply than I could have imagined. I not only learned how to conduct research in my field of New Testament studies, but I learned how to better form my own questions in search of answers. Central helped me to realize my own vision of making biblical scholarship accessible to the local parish, a vision that I hope to carry well into my future.”