One of the things that is valuable about a Seminary Education is that you end up having to travel to do it. If you go to the Seminary, you move. You are forced to have participated in multiple congregations in different places - you see that there are many different congregations and practices out there.
I have been reflecting on where I've been.
I was baptized and raised through fourth grade at Trinity, Lansing, IL -
When my dad went to the Sem, I went to school for 5th, 6th, and 8th grade at Holy Cross Lutheran in Fort Wayne
Although my dad did his field work at St. John Bingen
His vicarage was at St.Paul, Waco, TX
Then, while I was in high school, he had a dual parish in Nebraska, St Paul Holstein and Zion, Wanda
Then I went to college at OU, and so attended Trinity - Norman
Of course, during one summer in college I also ended up attending University Lutheran in Minneapolis (while now Prof. Pless was there)
My dad also took a call to Redeemer, Deming NM
and then later - St. John, T or C NM
Then I went to the Sem.
For my field work, I was at Grace, Muncie
One summer I lived in Austin, TX, and attended - Trinity
And while I was at the Sem, I ended up visiting my grandma in Toledo, and often went to both Good Shepherd and Holy Cross
Then my vicarage was at Trinity, Palo Alto, CA -
And then, now, here at Zion Lutheran Church in Lahoma
And this is by no means the limits of congregations that I have had dealings with, or pastors whom I know and love and respect.
There is such a breadth that is present, so many congregations. I think one of the things that saddens me is how there is that temptation to be insular, to become so accustomed to our own congregation that we forget our sister congregations or write them off.
Going to the Seminary, you get forced to see that. I was lucky - I road along on my dad's coattails when he went to the Sem, and I also got to see the Gospel preached in many places. It's an astonishing thing - and this isn't even mentioning the pastors whom I know who are scattered across the nation and globe. Sometimes it is quite good to see and remember this. There are things I have learned from each of these places - each of them have helped to shape me and provide me lessons that I have used.
And I could toss in Zion Friedheim and Zion Fort Wayne, and then also my circuit mates here. So much, so many, just blessings all.
Let us not become arrogant or haughty with our own practice or our own congregation - behold just how many there are, and how many we can learn from!