The IBMTE and I

May 7, 2009

Post removed while I reflect upon the situation.



  1. Hi Jeff

    It is very early in the morning here and I also desperately need some sleep, but I feel troubled after reading your post and have been mulling some responses in my head.

    Warning: This is subjective and not nearly as well reasoned and coherent as your approach. It is however still an approach that I believe would be of relevance to the discussion as much of the assessment that takes place in the IBMT evaluations would by definition be of this nature.

    First of all, I am happy to identify myself as a friend and co-worker who worked with you for two years.

    I want to state without exaggeration that I have always known you as an incredibly spiritual and dedicated scholar. You have many times modeled to me spiritual values of compassion, respect, understanding, and unswerving integrity on both personal and intellectual matters. Never have I doubted your dedication to your profession and your position as a Seventh-day Adventist Scholar.

    I have listened to several of your sermons and presentations and they have always stayed with me. At the moment I work as a pastor in a very different part of the world and I frequently long for access to your encyclopedic knowledge of Seventh-day Adventist History and doctrine.

    In my opinion it is a pity that the systems that are designed by the church to uphold our core values have the (in all likelihood, unintended) consequences of causing the stress that I sense that you are experiencing at the moment.

    In the light of this I’ll add my two cents worth:

    1. I would hope that the BMTE would see your rigorous critique of their method and approach as a positive indication that you are exactly the kind of scholar that they should endorse. I want to suggest that such critique is part of the territory of educational management in higher education. I hope that they would rise above the power politics and engage with the substance of the questions that are raised by this critique.

    2. I would hope that the members of the BMTE would be prepared to submit themselves to the same kind of scrutiny and same standards that they require from the theological educators themselves.

    3. The end of your post gives a small glimpse of the constraints and challenges that face theological educators in many of our institutions. Our institutions create work environments that require much more from the workers that they should require. There are always very good reason for this, but the fact is that this undoubtedly has negative consequences on morale, self esteem and (at times) spirituality amongst staff. I would hope that the BMTE would make some accommodation for these factors and assume some responsibility for this themselves as they engage in their assessment processes.

    (Note I recently read a book on Stress and Trauma amongst International Aid workers in which research clearly indicate that burnout levels and levels of trauma are significantly reduced, despite almost inhumane conditions, when there is a perceived atmosphere of support from management. The book goes on to argue that Christian agencies should make it their primary business to create this atmosphere as it is absurd to devote all one’s resources to affirming the value of people who suffer from major traumatic events in history and then allowing one’s own staff members to suffer the same injuries due to neglect. (Bibliographic details here: http://www.thefreelibrary.com/Helping+humanitarian+aid+workers-a0138050399)

    My final point in the form of a quote from Thomas Merton and a prayer:

    ‘What do I fear most? To forget who I am, to be lost in what I am not.’

    Thomas Merton, Journal 1966 (Found this on the Prodigal Kiwi’s Blog).

    My prayer is that you do not lose your vision and your courage to do what is right and follow your convictions. I also pray that you never end up doubting your own faith and dedication to your life goals as a result of a very challenging management process that you are facing.


  2. Jeff,

    Though I missed this post before you took it down, I did find it floating in the nether, cached in Google.

    After reading both your post and Weiers’ comment, I see both wisdom and consolation in Weiers’ counsel.

    I do have a thought or two more, but I’ll send it privately by way of FB.

  3. This accreditation mania has gone on for far too long among God’s people. Why do we keep trying to be the tail, instead of the head?

    The IBMTE Alternate Proposal – Alternate Endorsement section has this quote:
    “Focusing more on program endorsement than faculty endorsement, although the special responsibilities of faculty in this area would still be recognized through the awarding of specialized credentials. These would be in additional to their regular ministerial credentials.”

    More “awards” given in exchange for more control?

    It looks to me like there is a fundamental lack of trust in our Brothers and Sisters in Christ.

    Stay strong for Jesus, Brother H0bbes!

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