The above photo is from the last day of BGLASS Week ’08 at Princeton Theological Seminary. Princeton is a funny place sometimes; depending on where you’re from in the country or where you’re at on the theological spectrum, people think very different things about Princeton Seminary. “Liberals” think that Princeton is the bastion of conservatism; “conservatives” fear the potential for their friends to lose their faith at Princeton. The very first question my CPM (Committee on Preparation for Ministry – I’m under care of a Presbytery in Idaho) asked me after my first year at Princeton was “So what’s it like being at a place so liberal as Princeton? Is your faith okay?” And one of the very first things Sarah ever said to me, after I told her how I was hoping for some theological diversity at Princeton Seminary, was “And…you…chose…Princeton?
In the recent past, people have been saying the student body at Princeton has been pretty conservative, and to some degree, it has been a fairly accurate statement I think. Whitworth University, my alma mater, has more graduates at Princeton Seminary than any other undergraduate institution in the states, and students who graduate from Whitworth with a religion/theology degree tend to, on a whole, be more conservative. Perhaps this perception of Princeton Seminary was also due to the legacy of former President Tom Gillespie. It has also been said that the theological climate of Princeton Seminary is like a pendulum, swinging back and forth between the two poles. I don’t know if we happen to be in more of a “moderate” time now, but all of this is just to say that the photo above should at least give some hope for the seminary’s image to certain groups. With over 200 BGLASS shirts given away to students, faculty, administration and staff – while it’s just a t-shirt – I’d like to think that says something of the climate, grace and support of this place. I certainly have plenty of issues with Princeton, but yesterday, I was glad to be a part of this student body.