Today I started my last required UM class: United Methodist Doctrine. On the good side, there are several students from my History class in this class, so it wasn't all new people. On the bad side, I still have my cold, and having a class from 1-4:50 pm... well, that's good enough to take what I did have out of me.
This is apparently the professor's final semester before retirement.
We had our quiz. The professor didn't make us "clear our desks of books, notes, cheat sheets..." and we were in fact allowed to consult our books. He made it clear that he didn't want us to be reading the material for the first time as we took the quiz, however. heheheehe. I imagine I passed, which is all I need. United Seminary has an unique grading policy whereas they don't use the traditional A,B,C,D,F grades, but instead, they use a P=Pass, HP=High Pass, and (I don't know what) for failure.
Which brings me back to my History class. I stopped in to get my paper, and the professor asked me to sit and chat. First I thought there might be a problem, but, no, he just wanted to talk a little bit. He thanked me for my participation in the class and again mentioned the delimma of United Methodists regarding seminaries: that more UMs are coming out of Asbury than all of the UM seminaries and that the UMC doesn't know what to do about it.
I was thinking about that and I don't have any great answers, but I think part of it has to do with reputation. I asked people what seminary they would recommend, and people out in ministry doing good ministry recommended Asbury. When I stepped foot on campus, I knew that was where I should be. Every class began with prayer, which just put everything into the correct perspective -- there wasn't any anti-intellectual sentiment, but we were certainly reminded that prayer is top priority. One of Asbury's distinctives is that "head and heart go hand in hand" and I experienced this in my education there.
United and the Methodist Theological School in Ohio (yeah, now that's an original name) have liberal reputations, whether they are true or not (Dr. Whitford assures me that United has been assembling a faculty with some pretty impressive "non-liberal" qualifications), that isn't the direction that the United Methodist Church is generally going. Perhaps that's one of the reasons that Asbury is "stealing" good Methodists from right under their noses...