Friday, June 19, 2009

Why I am struggling with church history...

According to my professor, "99% of the questions you receive from parishioners and others while in ministry are essay or short answer."

OK, I'll grant you that. But I do not (somehow) think they will want to know the answers to questions like this:

"Trace out the New English theology and the way in which it challenged the reigning consensus of Aquinas and Bonaventure."
"Discuss the context for and theology behind the Augsburg Confession."
(my personal favorite for irrelevance)
"Discuss in detail the Council of Trent."

I suppose if I worked hard enough I could find someone for whom these are day-to-day, "how do I deal with situation X" answers... At the moment, I am doubtful. And yes, I am rebelling.

Add to my frustration that he does not cover these topics in his lectures in any semblance of an organized fashion, and I have to root out the answers from thousands of pages of reading... I feel as though I am preparing for PhD orals or something.

OK, whiny rant over. Back to Cromwell.



angela said...

Oh, my. Questions too open-ended. That would give me leave to write a poem? Or short answer?

I might be able to do the Augsburg Confession answer off the top of my head, but I took a class on The Book of Concord in the recent past. He didn't cover these?

So many professors don't teach well. We used to spend hours trying to get into the classes where we knew they did teach what was called for in the catalog.

mompriest said...

Actually I have found that much of what I studied in church history has come up in my day to day conversations with parishioners. But not in that specific kind of way - they are not familiar with the councils, etc...BUT they are familiar with some of the issues the councils faced, because we KEEP FACING them, they crop up again and It helps to have a basic working knowledge of this stuff.

BUT oh my. A professor who is not organzied in the presentation of info and in the reasoning behind questions...not good. Give me info in a context that makes some sense and I'll remember it.

Now, my church history prof used to give quizzes that included questions from the footnotes of our book...and or the handouts he gave. From the footnotes...sigh.

Maybe the problem is church history professors.