“We both came to believe that uncertainty is permanent, chaotic times are normal, change is accelerating, and instability will likely characterize the rest of our lives.” —Hansen and Collins, Great by Choice.
The Pew Research Center reports trends in the secularization among American Christians, which has consequences for churches and seminaries alike. As we are bombarded with access to information, the role of the religious leader as translator is still important in society. Seminaries offer priceless training in translating sacred text and creating ritual. But is the content and structure of seminary still working? Keeping Faith in Seminary is a book of essays that explores the challenges and opportunities for clergy and religious educators in the changing landscape.
Pew also reports similar trends of secularization among American Jews. Rabbi Hayim Herring approached me with interest in curating a similar conversation in the American Jewish community. Keeping Faith in Rabbis was a project we started together a year ago around the same themes. American Jews outside of Orthodoxy feel distant from Judaism as a religion, which raises important questions about the role of the rabbi, rabbinical education and the rabbinate. Rabbis, like pastors, do the essential work of translating the sacred, facilitating relationships and preserving ritual. Keeping Faith in Rabbis creates a venue of rich interaction where people talk with one another about themes like “What is the role of the rabbi?” and “Are the form and content of rabbinical education working?” Here’s an update on Keeping Faith in Rabbis: