Friday, October 26, 2012

faith formation for leaders in mission: hitting the time capsule

In a few weeks, I have to “vision cast,” present a “big picture” to our Uniting church candidates on the topic – academic formation. I’ve been wondering what to say.

Some 6 years ago, I was asked to engage a similar topic while a lecturer at Laidlaw College. It’s interesting to read now what I wrote then, to enter the time capsule, the denominational time capsule, the contextual (Aotearoa New Zealand to Australia) time capsule. Here is my big picture of faith formation some six years ago …

I turned to Paul’s autobiography in Galatians 1:13-18. I pointed out the factors at work in the Paul’s storytelling;
– text knowledge; “advancing in Judaism”
– church knowledge; “traditions of my ancestor”
– human experience; the Damascus Road
– processing space; “after three years”
– community engagement; “acquainted with Cephas.”

I suggested that [Paul’s faith was] re-integrated. He was taking processing time to reconsider text and church in light of human experience. He was processing in community, checking his re-integration with Peter.

And this mix of experience; text; processing; community was life changing for Paul and moved him into ministry.

Considering church and human experience allow him to integrate his past and his emotions; Considering text knowledge allows him to integrate his intellect and build depth and continuity; Processing allows him nuance and insight; Engagement with Peter in community processing keeps him down to earth and people focused.

This was integrating faith; text; church; experience; processing; community

All of us are like Paul; we bring human experiences, we bring church experiences, we have engaged with texts of Bible, history, culture.

And now we become aware of the gift of processing space and the gift of community engagement. So in fact, going to a bible college could, like Paul, be a life-changing experience.

(Full post six years ago here)

Posted by steve at 09:22 PM

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