Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Can't find a job? Go to seminary!

This is just disturbing from Fox News...

Faced with a harsh job market and inspired to action by the recent spate of white-collar crimes, students nationwide are flocking to graduate programs in religious education, often in record numbers. Many of the nation's divinity schools, including top programs at Harvard and Yale, have posted increases of 10 percent and higher for applicants to their fall incoming classes — returns that would draw the envy of any bearish investor.

"The admission pool definitely spiked in this last year, and the economy probably is part of it," said Harold Attridge, dean of Yale Divinity School, where a 13 percent increase in applications has led to the largest applicant pool in the school's history.

A similar trend has been observed at Harvard Divinity School, where applications for the fall semester are up 11 percent, according to Jonathan Beasley, communications officer for HDS.

Even more disturbing. It sounds like a lot of people are responding that they are going to seminary not just because they can't find a job but also to fight some sort of injustice...

Though Attridge identified declining job prospects as a potential motivator for students to continue their education, he pointed to a crop of contemporary moral and religious issues as a key influence on students seeking study religion.

Among those relatively new issues are global climate change and "gross immorality in the financial sector," Attridge said, which may have inspired students to take a more spiritual approach toward community service.

"There are questions about whether the fundamental moral fiber of the country is corroded," Attridge said.

The explanation resonates strongly with Stephen Blackmer, who will begin studying for a master of divinity at YDS this fall. Blackmer, 53, had worked in conservation and sustainable development for nearly 30 years before answering a call to join the ministry.

Blackmer said his experience has taught him that the main obstacle to slowing climate change is not technological or economic, but spiritual.

"Climate change is in effect a spiritual problem, because we've developed the technologies to protect the world from climate change, but not the wisdom to use them," he said.

Blackmer, who said he hopes to join an "environmental ministry" after graduating, said the slumping economy made his decision to attend divinity school easier.

An "environmental ministry"? Taking the Gospel to oak trees and baby seals? While I like that they are against "gross immorality" in the financial sector, I wonder if these seminarians are equally outraged by "gross immorality" among the sectors in the culture that are more traditionally considered immoral? You don't need to go to Wall Street to find immorality!

Ah, remember the good old days when people went to seminary with a goal of preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ?

1 comment:

Steve Martin said...

It sure stinks, doesn't it?