bethany theological seminary community
Walking on main campus
Worship Bethany Theological Seminary
Seminary Library

You are here

An Advent Message from the President

Printer-friendly versionPrinter-friendly version

In Dante's poem "The Inferno," the pilgrim confesses:Ruthann Johansen
    "Midway on our life's journey, I found myself
    In dark woods, the right road lost."

 

All of us as individuals may resonate with experiences of losing our way.  Institutions, even faith communities, can lose their way from time to time.

In this season of Advent, I invite us to reflect on the way of love incarnated in Jesus Christ. Deeply rooted in scripture and since its founding in 1708, the Church of the Brethren has boldly declared that war and other acts of violence are contrary to the nature and will of God. We believe that threats of direct or structural violence, whether political or churchly; conditions like poverty, racism, or sexism; and attitudes that breed hatred and intolerance toward individuals or groups all deny God's spirit of reconciling love

I therefore invite the church to reflect on lost paths and to join Bethany Theological Seminary, as an educational institution serving the Church of the Brethren, in seeking ways to embody the fullness of God's shalom—mishpat (justice), shalom (peace), hesed (compassion/loyalty)—and Christ’s peace in our households, our congregations, throughout the denomination, and in the world.

John Smith
(MDiv Connections)

classMy wife Barbara and I first visited Bethany in June 2009. After spending two days meeting with faculty and staff I returned home even more uncertain. Did I really want to devote the time this program required? Was I willing to learn computer skills that didn't even exist when I finished college in 1972? Was I willing to make the eight-hour drive that would occasionally be necessary? Was this really what God was calling me to do at this time in my life? From the very beginning, I came as I am, but went not as I came. Little did I know how this Bethany tag line would time and time again ring true for my educational experience.