OK First, sometimes I think my classmates forget that we are at a theological seminary in a Master's program. Yes your previous thoughts and knowledge are going to be challenged. Yes you are going to be asked to think about things in a different way. Yes you are going to be given information and ideas that may make you uncomfortable. No you do not have to let go of your Sunday school version of Jesus in the Bible you just have to be able to express why you find those thoughts valid and I'm sorry in academia the answer "Because the Bible says so" is just not an acceptable answer.
It is driving me crazy. First of all Drew does not really bill itself as anything less then it is. In fact apparently we aren't even the most liberal of the UM seminaries so really it is OK. Secondly we are in an academic setting we are going to be given scholarly information and are going to be asked to think in an academic manner. Yes church traditions have values. Yes I still hold on to some of mine, but now with a better understanding of why.
I will admit Drew tends to be pretty liberal and we do challenge a lot of the traditional church held ideas. But I don't hear anyone saying we aren't going to let you graduate if you don't believe or agree with everything we have say or have taught you. In fact it is exactly the opposite. you will not graduate if you have not learned to or do not think for yourself.
OK enough with the ranting....
I actually heard some uplifting news today. The Bishop from my annual conference (troy) was visiting Drew today. We were having lunch and one of my classmates asked about why she thought we were losing numbers so drastically and one of the things that she said that struck me the most was because we aren't starting new churches. I was impressed that was her answer. I think we she is right. there is definitely room and need for some of our older congregations. But there is a huge amount of room for new growth and starting with a fresh new church is a great to do that. I hope she can be a prominent voice in this movement to stat new churches. That would be amazing!