Thank you for the article on the future faces of ELCA ordained leadership (January, "Who will wear this shirt?").
Its prediction that women, ethnic outsiders and laypeople will replace
the religious elite of the past and present, namely, ordained white
males, is in some respects already under way. The article raises
important questions about the present and future shape of Christian
leadership. What respective weight will the ELCA give to the assets of
life experience and academic preparation? Is an educated clergy in the
traditional sense still necessary? If, as the author states, future
“ELCA leaders will probably look a lot like those of the first century
church,” does that imply they’ll identify with the world’s outcasts?
Alan J. Watt
New Braunfels, Texas
It’s good to lift up congregations that support young people for
leadership. We so easily fall into a misleading numbers game that
diminishes important contributions of smaller congregations. What can
guide us in comparing the contributions of Minneapolis congregations:
Mount Olivet (Sunday attendance: 5,815) producing seven candidates or
Central (Sunday attendance: 800) producing five candidates with the
contribution of Bethany (Sunday attendance: 63), with three candidates
in the same time period?
The article says we are trying to attract a diverse population of
students to attend seminary and be ordained. People like me who have
learning disabilities (the result of an auto accident when I was 2) are
capable of obtaining college degrees (I have an associate’s, a
bachelor’s and about half the credits necessary for a master’s degree
in business). I tried attending seminary but my learning disability
caused problems in Greek and Hebrew, which require a lot of
memorization. This is useful for a biblical scholar. But I imagine that
there is room for scholarship in a variety of areas and room for the
practical application of the scholarship of others. Learning
disabilities, like physical disabilities, can and should be
accommodated to produce men and women who will make good ministers.
John C. Kober
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