At first, my idea was to create a page of Aphorisms by Tod. After brief moments of thought I realized that such a thing already existed.
In a text conversation with one of my sisters, I offered the following. It is better to have a pattern of self-deception than not believe in yourself at all. For some reason she objected to what I think is very sound advice. However, she can’t help herself, she will come back for more whether she objects to it or not. This is something not many people willingly do. A lot of folks tend to think less is more than they can handle.
While I don’t seek people out to offer my advice (if they are not smart enough to ask, they are probably not smart enough to benefit), tonight I feel compelled to offer advice to a small group of people in need of listening.
In fact, read this.
Particular attention should be focused on standard 7.2.1:
While final authority for an institution is vested in the governing board and defined by the institution’s official documents, each school shall articulate a structure and process of governance that appropriately reflects the collegial nature of theological education. The governance process should identify the school’s constituencies and public, recognize the multiple lines of accountability, and balance competing accountabilities in a manner shaped by the institution’s charter, purpose, and particular theological and denominational commitments.
Whatever is happening at General Theological Seminary, it seems from a distance that all parties involved have forgotten that by seeking and receiving accreditation, they are responsible for these standards. Not just the board, not just administration, not just the faculty. All are responsible. (I don’t have any interest in this situation other than it was brought to my attention by tweeps who pointed to my earlier post on accreditation.)
It is embarrassing to higher ed that a group of people who can fit easily into a decent-sized conference room, or a McDonald’s dining room, can’t find a way to talk things out. Certainly things get touchy, and nightmarish presidents are less than a dime a dozen, but nightmarish faculty are just as readily available. I know from experience that struggles of faith and church governance can be painful and nasty. However, this is a struggle that also directly affects students and their ability to access federal student loans. Of course some would say, in that case, losing accreditation would be a good thing – make the students take private loans. This leads to a line of thought that some will find unpleasant.
I know that churches tend not to pay well. I know that PCUSA synods and presbyteries have to set minimum pay standards to enforce fairness. I also know divinity grads with tens of thousands of dollars in student loans will qualify for one of the income-based repayment options and will likely never pay back the full amounts of their loans. Especially if they have families. (Total Cost of Attendance at GTS is about $44K for nine months an M.Div appears to be a 3 year program.)
This scuffle will draw attention to this issue and perhaps cause people in Washington, DC to consider added HEA amendments that may ripple across higher ed. It probably won’t. This will be just another story in a year full of stories, but the possibility exists.
I note though, that the striking faculty, those that institution leadership and board members insist have “resigned” are still listed on the web page as faculty of the institution. I guess that is preferable than listing only the remaining two.
(for those that would rather read the script)
Brian: Are you the Judean People’s Front?
Reg: Fuck off!
Reg: Judean People’s Front! We’re The People’s Front of
Judea! Judean People’s Front, God!
Brian: Can I…join your group?
Reg: No, piss off!
Brian: I didn’t want to sell this stufff, it’s only a job! I
hate the Romans as much as anybody!
All in PFJ except Brian: Ssch! Ssch! Ssch! Ssch! Ssch!
Judith: Are you sure?
Brian: Oh, dead sure. I hate the Romans already.
Reg: Listen! If you wanted to join the PFJ, you’d have to
have really hate the Romans.
Brian: I do!
Reg: Oh, yeah, how much?
Brian: A lot!
Reg: Right, you’re in. Listen, the only people we hate more
than the Romans, are the fucking Judean People’s Front.
All in PFJ except Brian: Yeah!
Rogers: And the Judean Popular People’s Front!
All in PFJ except Brian: Yeah! Splitters!
Loretta: And the People’s Front of Judea!
All in PFJ except Brian: Yeah! Splitters!
Loretta: The People’s Front of Judea. Splitters!
Reg: We are the People’s Front of Judea!
Loretta: Oh. I thought we were the Popular Front.
Reg: People’s Front! God…
Rogers: Whatever happened to the Popular Front, Reg?
Reg: He’s over there.
All in PFJ except Brian: Splitter!
Of course, it could be that this is not really the story the matters. This may just be a symptom.