In concluding… I want to suggest a difficult but feasible first step that could provide a solid basis for hope. If a first step is taken prudently it may open the way for next steps in the long slow movement toward a society that is more caring and less power-ridden.
The first step suggested is toward a strong visionary leadership in those who chair the trustees of our legions of institutions. It is to establish institutions of Chairing in seminaries. Why seminaries? …if seminaries were strong institutions today and carrying effectively the vital culture-shaping role they are best positioned to carry, the proposal being made here would not be needed. The proposal made here is for seminaries to make the effort to become strong as a first step.
AN ASIDE: Being ‘effective’ is crucial; as is being ‘efficient.’ However, there is a third ‘Being’ that is just as crucial: ‘Being Faithful.’ So here’s a guiding question: ‘What must I-You-We be faithful to even if we might not be effective?’ Think, for example: To be rooted in Integrity at all times. Remember Mother Teresa’s words: ‘I am not called to be effective, I am called to be faithful.’ Back to Greenleaf…
Seminaries need to be made strong because churches, also feeble, need to be made strong so that, as community based institutions, they can carry the vast amount of work necessary to move toward a more caring and less power-ridden society. Churches are weak for want of vision and purpose that they are likely to get only from seminaries.
The premise here is that seminaries move toward strength by connecting themselves with the kind of knowledge base that generators of visions must have. Visions are not generated out of thin air. They arise out of wisdom. And the wisdom to produce visions that will move contemporary society is not in libraries because our institution-bound society is too recent. Seminaries will need to tap directly a knowledge base in contemporary institutions (the suggestion here is that they relate directly to their chairpersons).
[To be continued…]