A little over three years ago I posted my thoughts on the situation regarding Jeff Greenway and Asbury Seminary. To my amazement people still read this post, and try to draw conclusions from it even though I stated a) it was poorly researched, b) I had no inside knowledge, and c) it has as much basis in fact as the tooth fairy does. Considering I'm still getting comments on this post, and someone even said they used it as the basis for a case study in a graduate leadership class (which I found totally bizarre), I thought it best to update my thoughts.
I only have one thought: God is in control.
Now know I'll be a believer in God's gift of freedom of the will until I die, and then yet live. The ending has been determined for history (the good guys win), but the time between now and then is unwritten. God needs us to make good choices, working with Him as the Kingdom of Heaven unfolds. But God's hand is still in all things. Don't ask me to explain it... it's just a wonderful mystery.
With that thought, know this... Jeff Greenway has done a great job at Reynoldsburg UMC, a church that desperately needed strong leadership when he arrived. Turned out to be just the right leader at just the right moment, and the West Ohio Conference is better for it. Asbury's loss is our gain.
Second, I am as disconnected from Asbury as I was before I arrived on campus to begin the Beeson program. The reason for this is that the Beeson Fellowship collapsed with the economic meltdown of 2008, and all the people I knew who were working there were let go in the process. While Tom Tumblin, the current director is my academic adviser (yes, I haven't yet graduated, but it's coming, and that right soon) and former DS, he's busy and so am I. When we talk, it's about the dissertation that will not end. Couple that with a suspension of the program for a year or two, and there's really no loop in which to be engaged. Hence, I have no idea of the outcome of all the reports and consultants in terms of how the place functions. All I know is the new president looks like a good enough guy, and I wish him well.
Finally, I admit this, begrudgingly, but I wasn't entirely accurate in terms of my assessment of Asbury Seminary before I arrived. I thought the place was narrow and judgmental, and while that exists in some people there (as it does everywhere), it was not at the heart of the institution. Asbury Seminary was, and I'm assuming still is, a great place to get an education. That, in any event, has been my experience. I will always be indebted to the members of my Beeson cohort, all of my professors, Randy Jessen (great dean), Jack Connell (great assistant dean), virtually all the guest speakers, the person who made it possible to spend a week with Brian McLaren and Steve Chalke, Tory Baucam for a faith-altering experience in London, and especially all the families of the Beeson Pastor Class of 2006-07. The community you provided will forever be treasured and remembered.
In the words of Master Oogway, "The past is history. The future is a mystery. Today is a gift. That's why they call it the present." Learn from the past my friends, but live in the now.