Five Reasons to Love LTSG

It’s the end of the semester, assignments are due, I’m preparing for a major move next month, and life is crazy.  And yet as I’m sitting here, I’m struck by the feeling that this seminary has been a really great place to be.  There’s lots of reasons why, lots and lots, but you’re busy (and I’m procrastinating on a paper for Job), so here are just five that have been brought to mind through events of only the past week:

1)  The professors make the Bible come alive.

Example: this morning in Hebrew we brought in our translations of Amos 5:21-24.  Turns out the prophet is even more prophet-y in the original language!

Verse 24 in the NRSV:

But let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.

Verse 24, working translation, down and dirty Hebrew to English: 

But let roll along like the waters judgment/justice [same word in Hebrew: mishpat] and righteousness like an ever-flowing torrent/wadi.

Verse 24, cleaned-up version after class discussion:

But let God’s judgment, which brings forth justice, roll down like water, and let righteousness flood the dry river-beds like an everlasting torrent.

In other words, it’s the difference between:

Yay, Mishpat!
“Yay, Mishpat!”









The Bible just gets more like an Indiana Jones movie every day I’m in seminary.  It’s wonderful.


2)  The professors’ sense of humor.

Last night, our History of Lutheranism professor, Dr. Erling, presided at evening Eucharist.  During the Children’s Time, she introduced to them a strange conflation of St. Nicholas and Belschnickel–she included the tradition about leaving your shoes out for St. Nicholas to fill with treats, but inexplicably left out the part where Belschnickel beats the bad children with a stick.  She had the kids put their shoes in the back of the sanctuary, where secret assistants filled them before the service let out.

So afterwards, of course, we mature adult students felt a scholarly need to research whether this would work with us, too.  So we put our shoes outside her office.


We were just as delighted as the children!  My understanding is that Dr. Erling saw the shoes, started laughing, and went back to her house for goodies to fill them.  I got a pick handclapper and a chocolate coin!!  (I have already broken the handclapper through overexcited use brought on by the sugar rush from the candy.  It’s exactly like Christmas morning.)


3)  The love of both hymnody and humor flourishes here…at the same time!

Since I started seminary back in February ’11, I’ve been a member of the magnificent Mother Schmuckers, the seminary’s all-female a cappella group.  That means that when I get a song stuck in my head, there’s a whooooole group of people who can get together to help sing it!  They also dork out with me over different kinds of music, help write parodies, and coordinate choreography (JAZZ HANDS!) to “A Mighty Fortress Is Our God.”

And they make that organ look GOOD.


4) An amazing community.

On the very day I was feeling a little overwhelmed and too tired to cook dinner, my neighbor knocked at my door and said, “Hey!  I’m making mac and cheese.  Want some?”  And before I knew it, the magic of potluck as happened and we had a three course meal and it was delicious and life was soooo much better.

I haven’t even mentioned my helpful neighbors that regularly steal my dog and give him things to do, like avoid being hugged, destroy chew toys, and taste-test homemade dog treats.


5)  An active, supportive, creative worship environment.

I got to lead worship this Monday in the seminary chapel for the first time!  Not only did the Dean of the Chapel let me tweak the liturgy and do something different, but on the SAME DAY he let me introduce a new hymn.  And I got help on it from the chapel cantor, a professional musician with a formidable beard who not only made my music look good and is going to use it in his own Celtic worship service, but totally made my day by typing an unexpected “my bad” into an email discussing eighth note rests.

I am blessed indeed.  🙂


6 Replies to “Five Reasons to Love LTSG”

  1. Wonderful! LTSG is quite the spectacular place. I’m glad that the awesomeness of the faculty, the fun of the community, and the wonder of scripture are continuing to be appreciated by the ‘future generations’ 🙂

    Seth Novak, class of ’10

    1. Hi Seth!

      Thanks for visiting, and for your comment! How nice to know that this “future generation” is part of an ongoing legacy of appreciation. 🙂

  2. “Yay, Mishpat! CRAP! MISHPAT!”
    I must now find a context in which to use this.

    Seminary communities really are awesome places–people do take care of each other in the most interesting of ways. Your shoe story reminds me of a classmate here who would do that in a heartbeat, along with many other things the other students would -never- do, just to get people to laugh.

    1. Ken, I don’t really want to admit to how long I spent looking for a GIF of crashing waters…I’m SO glad ya like it. 🙂

      The one thing about writing a post in praise of LTSG is that it kinda necessarily leaves out how the ELCA has a great thing going on at all eight of its seminaries. I visited LSTC and PLTS during my application days, and was universally impressed. All have different gifts, and all are amazing communities, working to build up the body of Christ. 🙂

      1. I encounter the same problem. Being a TLS student, I naturally have wonderful things to say about it. Strangely enough, though I grew up and lived in Chicago my whole life, I didn’t really consider LSTC for seminary (not because of the school, but because of an emotional trainwreck I was in the middle of that convinced me going back out to Columbus was a good idea), but I did have the opportunity to be there for 3 weeks during high school as part of the Youth in Mission: Serving Christ in the World program. In fact, that’s what convinced me that seminary should be in my future. All of the seminaries have their uniqueness, but all are united in the same mission.

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