The dominant model of theological education positioned schools of theology as centers for training leaders of many different kinds of voluntary associations. But now powerful economic, political, and cultural forces are unraveling the network of voluntary associations these schools emerged to serve. The record number of people who identify as “nones”—people without any particular religious affiliation—is only one index of this unraveling. As this wider ecology comes undone, schools of theology across the spectrum are struggling for students, funds, and purposes. But the same forces that are unraveling voluntary associations are also authorizing new values, characters, and organizations. Refusing narratives of both progress and decline, Smith tries to read these developments by an eschatological light. Seeing by that light, he tries to name a series of affordances for theological education in this time between the times.
Reception starts at 6 pm and lecture starts at 6:30pm.