Posts Tagged ‘religion’

It has a chance of becoming one of the defining characteristics of the present age. It even has an acronym: SBNR. And, of course, it has a web page and a Facebook page. Being “spiritual but not religious” is often an explanation, sometimes an excuse, but mostly it seems to be an attempt at self-definition meant to set a good many people apart from what I’m guessing are perceived societal norms.

Unlike a lot of what I’ve read about this trend, I suggest that 1) we can learn a lot from the SBNR trend, 2) the discussion of this topic has largely been limited by a false dichotomy, 3) there is a better way to talk about what is at stake, and 4) the church can and should respond. (more…)


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The Center for Renewal had the opportunity to bring The Rev. Dr. Duane Larson, president of Wartburg Theological Seminary (ELCA) in Dubuque, to town for two days. We invited him to talk with area members and pastors about the state of the seminary in our rapidly changing social, economic and religious landscapes.

Dr. Larson spent the first part of his time talking about the spectrum of approaches that various theologians (and regular church members) have taken over the years, from a literal understanding of Scripture to the Bible as one of many “helpful books,” and from individualistic approaches to what he called communitarian approaches. We talked about the reality that our culture reduces this richly textured spectrum to two polarized views, and tends to stereotype seminaries at one of the two ends of the spectrum. While seminaries need to know their place on the spectrum (and the ‘market’ which they intend to serve), they also need  to be able to train pastors to speak from and to the many places that people (in reality) find themselves on the spectrum.

Economic changes are making it difficult for seminaries to maintain traditional brick-and-mortar facilities.

In the second half of his time, he talked about the current realities facing seminaries. He didn’t just speak about our denomination’s eight seminaries, but about all 240 Catholic and protestant seminaries in North America. (more…)

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Welcome to the brand new blog for the Center for Renewal at Grand View University in Des Moines, Iowa. This site is (duh) under development. In the meantime, visit www.renewingchurch.org for more information.

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