dark blue space

On the Apparent but Stifling Primacy of Academic Learning in Spiritual Ministry.

It seemed to me that practitioners of ministry skills tend to draw on their history of theological education to empower their ministries and shape the gifts that they offer in their work. Each day they draw differently on their experience for inspiration. At each encounter in their work they base their goals, motivations and the words that they offer on different, but specific parts of their theological knowledge.

Different ministries and different experiences will force them to specialise in the passages and thinking that they regularly draw on, building interest and experience with some areas and falling back on their more juvenile understandings of other areas of life and theology.

This seemed to me to contrast with the relatively general nature of academic learning. Wether the learning is thematic or overviews, it can’t help but be more generic than will be needed in different situations. This is as it should be, because course developers and teachers can’t expect to know what situations their students will face.

As far as this goes, this is all as it should be.

The difficulty comes when (a) increasing levels of generic knowledge is what is seen to qualify people for particular ministry positions, and (b) generic knowledge becomes, through sermons, to be the focus or most valued part of a church service.

This can possibly be balanced by giving equal weight, in church services etc, to the “faith journeys” of individuals within the congregation.

A Model for a Post-Colonial Society that Appreciates and Incorporates Surviving First Nations

Colonial societies, IMHO, bring many valuable strengths to the new country, and for countries like Australia, where the colonial society and their dependents makes up the bulk of the population and mostly celebrates their own heritage and culture, First Nations societies have struggled to find respect and a voice for the vital strengths and wisdom that they and their cultures have accumulated.

Australia’s First Nations produced a spectacular “Statement From the Heart” with robust and humble suggestion for how to build a society that respects their knowledge and culture and still allows for the second peoples and more recent arrivals to live together and benefit from each other’s wisdom.

I expect I am a bit slow on the pickup, but it seems to me that “Foundational” is probably a good word to help us understand the difference between First Nations culture and the cultures of more recent arrivals. it seems to me that Australia needs to think of the wisdom and culture of First Nations peoples as foundational to our multicultural society in finding our way forward into the future.

European cultures have brought massive strengths of learning, enterprise and organisation, but in so doing, we’ve lost First Nations understanding and approach to land, to family, to listening, too belonging. And these seem to me to be exactly the qualities that Australia needs if we are to survive the mass extinction wave, climate change, and the avalanche of depression and anxiety that is sweeping Australia.

We desperately need to base our planning and society building policies on the foundation of First Nations approaches to the environment and to society.

The Hero’s Journey

This seems to be a useful summary of “The Hero’s Journey” popularised by Joseph Campbell and every movie ever.

It’s about Innocence transforming into Maturity.

Life (innocence) – call – initiation (love and suffering) – return with maturity (your work in the world is not done).

Seems like a good structure for a sermon or two.