Sze Zeng blogs about his experience in Trinity Theological College after the end of his first semester there. He shares from three different perspectives as embedded in TTC's ethos of training: intellectual inquiry, spiritual formation and vocational training. Since I am not part of TTC's community, I don't think I am in a position to comment or respond to Sze Zeng. But I could certainly empathise with him on some of the issues he raised.
Closer to home, we also hear of our own students' lament about their seminary experience. The following is what one of our seminary students posted about his rather negative reflection about us as lecturers in one of his blogposts. Is this a case of unmet expectations of the student (whether these are realistic or not is a separate isssue), or we, as lecturers, are simply incompetent or 'beyond redemption'?
Lecturers: In many ways, being more competent than me, they have always challenged me to be ready to be a competent full time pastor. Unfortunately, I realised some of them just talked only ...they are good academically, not really that pastorally(not being patience by walking alongside with the students). On the other hand, some are really pastoral but not academically competent (do not update their information on their disciplines- they still use the 1990s materials for their lecture). Some even preached and don't practice what they preached. Sometimes, their preachings are bad model eg. Generally, most of them are busy and difficult to spend times with us or to nurture us personally. I pity those students in Chinese department where they have to bear the incompetencies of the lecturers who were neither pastoral nor academic. Well comparing to the Westerners, perhaps, at least Malaysian lecturers would try to be friends with us and are more compassionate towards us. These are the mixture of the characteristics of the lecturers there that make me as a student, need to be patient with and be challenged to pray for.
Another student blogs about his learning experience after one year in seminary. This is what he says:
Things that I have learned in lecture is (sic) very dry, spiritually dry, because it is just knowledge....I realised that when I understood something, it doesn't makes (sic) my relationship with God become more intimate.
Incidentally, Sze Zeng does have some good things to say about TTC lecturers - something that is missing from my students. Some food for thought for us as lecturers.