Archive for April, 2002

Academics and ministry

Academics and ministry. How closely wed should these two things be?

I learned today that there is a growing trend in Christian education. Those who wish to teach in a bible college setting need a Ph.D. A Ph.D. to teach bible school students? Almost every teacher I’ve had only had an M.A. and they were very effective teachers. I’ve seen people with doctorates that were far less effective.

How is it that the Christian church has gone from “You are our letter, written in our hearts, known and read by all men;” to B.A. M.Div Ph.D. Education has been a good thing in my life but its only one piece of the puzzle. The heart of what I’ve learned comes from personal study, revelation by the Spirit, discipleship in community, and life experience. Class room instruction is valuable in it’s place. Why does the church place so much emphasis on it? Just because you can complete assignments, write tests, and listen to someone lecture doesn’t mean you are an effective minister of the gospel. Have we bought in to the world’s system of education blindly? The nature of the Holy Spirit and the gospel cannot not be stuffed in to an academic grid.

I’m a little frustrated. I’m trying to discern what is the best place for me. What kind of role am I to play in the church? I am growing more and more convinced that God is going to bring me to a seminary. It won’t be this year, but maybe next. I’m not sure if I can ever be totally at peace with academics as the primary vehicle for discipleship.

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Cemetary? Seminary?

Cemetary? Seminary? I’ve travelled all the way to Fresno California to check out my denomination’s main seminary. It’s really nice down here right now. 25 degrees, warm, sunny and dry. The campus looks great and it looks like I might have a job at the school. Should I continue my education in California? There is something just doesn’t feel right about the situation. It seems as though things have fallen in to place for me. Even though the circumstances are good that doesn’t necessarily mean that is where God is leading. Maybe I’m just nervous about making such a big move. Maybe there is more to do at home. I don’t know. I’m going to commit the matter to more prayer.

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Where am I going?

I’ve finished another year of school. I can hardly believe that God has brought me through it. I was so scared because I was afraid that I would sink myself in to debt. As it turned out I managed to go to school for 2 semesters and come out in just about the same shape I went in. Funny, thats exactly what God told me at the beginning. For me it isn’t always trusting in God that I struggle with, its trusting that I am hearing Him correctly. Maybe its the same thing.

It wasn’t until I saw some solid fruit that I began to feel better about going back to school. Now I face another question. Is God calling me to work inside the boundaries of the system focused on Him and His people? On the other hand am I called to stretch, change and even break the system? I have no great love for the religious machinery that runs the church. I’ve seen first hand that God does work through it. God has changed the lives of people here at school. I’ve also seen how it limits us. We have settled for scraps when we can have the whole meal. I have much more grace for people and systems that mystify me nowadays. Still I can’t deny the desire in me to see revolutionary change.

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I’m studying anabaptist hermeneutics. I have an exam on it in about 25 minutes. One significant throught has entered my mind. How has academics negatively influenced our interpretation of the bible? If the Spirit inspires something should you really find the minimum 10 bibliographic sources? Does the desire to look good in the academic community influence our methods? Do we truly rely on the Spirit to influence us?

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End of School

We got our yearbooks today. There is a large picture of me looking just greasy. I look like I should be wearing a leisure suit hitting on women 20 years my junior. I guess there is no such thing as bad press.

The school year is almost over and I’m filled with mixed emotions. I’m excited to return to a more normal life. I’m excited to be able to spend more time building my business. I’m also very sad that I won’t see many of the people here right now. Life is always changing, and things (especially friends) never stay the same even though we might want them to.

I’m almost done creating my web app for the school. It’s my first project in ASP and it has been fun using different technology. I’ve lost my fear of “true” programming. I’m looking at conquering .net next. I wonder how many ministry doors will open for me just because I can maintain a network and program.

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Hockey Sticked

I was hockey sticked last night. What is that? It’s a fine school dorm tradition in Canada. For doors that open in to the room you use a wire coat hanger, a hockey stick and a generous amount of duct tape to keep the door from opening. Effectively locking someone in to their own dorm room. Always too proud to give my assaulters any satisfaction I just told them to leave. I looked at escaping through my window. Unfortunately I didn’t have the right size screwdriver, and my girth wouldn’t have fit easily through a rather high opening. Then I attempted something truly novel. I used my cell phone to call my own dorm and talked someone in to removing the hockey stick from the door handle. In a few minutes I was free.

What was the world like before wireless?

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Setup to Blog

Well I am finally setup to blog. I’ve always loved the idea of speaking freely about things. That is one of the reasons I created this website.

I just finished my last assignment here at bible school. I am looking forward to getting back home and going back to what is left of my former life. The adjustment to living in a close knit Christian community has been hard for me. I’ve learned to give people much more grace than I used to. It definitely makes life easier.

I am already editing my first post. My grammar skills are average at best. When I write something casually (like a blog, or an IM conversation) I usually make myself look like an idiot. If I want to be a bible school teacher I better learn how to compose sentances without using a lot of concentration.