It looks like this will be a week of confessions. Today and tomorrow reflects areas of my thinking where I have changed my mind, at least to a certain point.

When I was at Fuller Seminary one of the earliest pieces of writing by Robert Banks that I read was on TEE, Theological Education by Extension. The basic idea was that it is better to put the theological training where the people are rather than uproot them, move them and have them go back.

Recently I have been thinking about online theological education as part of a paper I am writing and I have been trying to decide if it is truly communal. I was leaning towards the no until I remembered the aforementioned paper.

So I am thinking if the person at the other end has a good community around them plus good communication online then there is a good chance that this form of distance education is a new form of TEE and all the benefits of Banks’ work applies. At the same time there is a chance this does not happen. The community at the other end of the educational institution may not want to be questioned. The community may not be supportive enough or able to deal with new knowledge quickly. This does not mean that the ideal is non-communal or a failure but there needs to be equipping and preparation of the outcomes of the education. Just like missionaries are debriefed so should theological students be warned of the implications this may have with their peers, sub and super-ordinates.

So you are at the end of a computer, do you have a community?

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