For the Bookshelf: Learning the Way

By Israel Galindo, Associate Dean for Lifelong Learning

Once, over lunch during a conference, I asked a church historian and cultural critic if he would ever identify a point at which a congregation would cease to be “Christian.” His answer was no. Given the perpetual struggle of the Church, over the centuries, to avoid cultural captivity with its resulting loss of an authentic voice of hope, I found his response surprising. Cassandra Williams’ book, Learning the Way: Reclaiming Wisdom from the Earliest Christian Communities offers a counter-argument to the idea that a congregation is Church merely because of what it may look like, or call itself. Williams unapologetically identifies what is required to be an authentic Christian church: the ongoing presence of Jesus Christ at the center of community (p. 54). The book offers a reminder of the Church’s cultural and historical roots, and thereby, provides congregational leaders an important perspective for how the shape of its life and mission needs to be. Conversational in style, but appropriately critical, Learning the Way is grounded in historical perspective which provides a responsible corrective to faddish notions about Christian education and discipleship. Continue reading For the Bookshelf: Learning the Way

Everyone Hates Before Pictures

By Enoch Chang (MDiv ’11)

So I don’t like to publicize this too, too much, but I’ve been doing the Paleo lifestyle (it’s not a diet) for about 6 months. Since then, I’ve lost about 47 pounds. Every time I look in the mirror I think, “I should’ve taken a before picture.” Why didn’t I? I had done the Paleo thing in the past and knew I would lose weight. Why didn’t I take a before picture?

I think it’s because no one likes to take before pictures. If you look at any of those weight-loss/hair replacement/acne-curing infomercials, NO ONE looks happy. There’s a lot riding on that before picture: What if this doesn’t work? What if I’m just stuck with a fat/bald/pizza-faced picture of me with no after picture to laugh at my before picture? Before pictures are tough. They share a moment of insecurity heavy with the hopes of reaching your potential. It’s uncomfortable. It’s your biggest vulnerability on display. But, when done correctly, it shows a commitment to growth.

Continue reading Everyone Hates Before Pictures

Six Educational Principles from Augustine of Hippo

By Israel Galindo, Associate Dean for Lifelong Learning

Augustine of Hippo was one of the foremost philosophers and theologians of early Christianity. He had a profound influence on the subsequent development of Western thought and culture and, more than any other person, shaped the themes and defined the problems that have characterized Western traditions of Christian theology. Augustine received a classical education that both schooled him in Latin literature and enabled him to escape from his provincial upbringing.

Trained at Carthage in rhetoric he became a teacher of rhetoric in Carthage, Rome, and finally in Milan. His subsequent career as priest and bishop was to be dominated by controversy and debate. Augustine’s influence on Christian education was formative. His work, Christian Education, provided a manual of instruction for Christian teachers, both clergy and lay. It provided a philosophical base for interpreting the Scripture and gave techniques for teaching. It was a work of considerable pedagogical importance, and it remained a classic for Christian educators for centuries. Continue reading Six Educational Principles from Augustine of Hippo

Being in Prayer

By Bethany McKinney Fox (MDiv ’06) A couple days ago, my husband and I were sitting at a sub shop with our good friends Terry and Chris, enjoying victory sandwiches, after their team won a basketball game against the Bearcats. They play in a basketball league for adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities, and watching their games is always super fun. That night one of their team members had a bad stomachache, so they both brought up our need to pray for him. We got back to their house (they both live in L’Arche – an international federation of faith-based communities where people with and without disabilities share life together), and we had a time of prayer for their teammate, and whatever else was on our minds. Continue reading Being in Prayer

For the Bookshelf: Personality Type and Religious Leadership

By Israel Galindo, Associate Dean for Lifelong Learning

A seminary professor friend recently posted on Facebook the question, “What were Jesus’ Myers-Brigg letters?” It’s a playful question that comes up every once in a while, resulting in speculation and enthusiastic (biased) claims for one type over another. The banter brought to mind the book, Personality Type and Religious Leadership, by Oswald and Kroeger.

Personality Type and Religious Leadership reports the result of research done by Roy M. Oswald and Otto Kroeger at the former Alban Institute. Around 1983 Oswald began using the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) to help church professionals across denominations understand better themselves, their ministries and the people they serve. The first chapter of the book sets the stage for understanding why understanding type is important. The chapter includes a Rashomon-type story in which four ministers in a car on the way home from a three day seminar, share different reactions and different understandings of their ministries. The story makes the point that understanding our own personality type, as well as the types of those we work with, is important to our effectiveness as ministers. Continue reading For the Bookshelf: Personality Type and Religious Leadership

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