Week of 11-09-2009

by Ted Cockle

This week should prove to be an interesting week. As always, there is lots of reading to do, and not a lot of time to do it. However, I’m excited to see the discussions that come about this week.

Culture and Ministry: We have readings on entrance posture into other cultures as well as “Black Theology.” The latter is always a sensitive issue because there are a lot of good things that are coming out of this, yet, it is tough because in the end, Black Theology often focuses a great deal more on humanity than it does the Cross. “Black Theology” in this article, deals more with the present “Kingdom” than it does the eternal one. Similar to “social justice,” these are all great things if flowing out of the centrality of the Gospel. They become problematic when they overshadow and overpower the gospel.

Bible and Ministry: For this class we are reading a book called “Transforming Bible Study.” While I haven’t finished it yet, I am sure to continue to like it as it encourages believers to dive into the word, and equips them to become a more educated “priesthood (of all believers).” Also, for this class we have a lectio divinia assignment for 2 passages. I appreciate the way this exercise encourages the saturation of scripture, even if the exercise itself is a bit out of my box. In the end, I appreciate this class because it emphasizes the authority of God’s special revelation in the scriptures.

Spiritual Formation 1: Personal Formation: This class has grown me a lot more than I think I originally might think. I think this is because I have grown in ways different from those around me and from those who have taken the class before me. This is an important thing to remember as I head into other classes, to not judge them based on others experiences. As I look back, this class hasn’t taught me a ton about growing spiritually, or how to more effectively practice spiritual disciplines, but instead it has encouraged me to grow in grace. With the overwhelming focus on my spirituality I was nervous and quickly became cynical of a lot of the readings. It seemed to be too much fluff. Lots of anecdotes, not enough scripture, definitily not enough Jesus. Grace then came, not in my accepting of everything that was stated, but instead by way of listening to what they were saying and offering my disagreement in a graceful and understanding manner. The key here was to listen. James tells us to be quick to listen, and slow to speak. Boy did I need to learn that one.

History and Philosophy of Ministry: I’m not sure what we are reading for this class this week. Bonhoeffer perhaps. I’m not sure, but I know that I will enjoy it. I’ve really enjoyed this class. This week I will really jump into my historical mentor paper on John Calvin. The paper is a way of looking at historical figures and analyzing their philosophy of ministry as a way of preparing us to form our own philosophy of ministry in our final paper. I have a lot of research to do, but it should be fun because Calvin was a stud.