Sunday, May 31, 2015

leadership formation: an indigenous experiment in oral learning

I have been working with a group of indigenous ministers over the last 6 months, praying about what Aboriginal leadership development might look like amongst the Aboriginal churches in Adelaide. This week we participated in the following learning experiment.

indigenous leadership welcome

First, welcome. We begin with worship, with song written by a gifted, local, indigenous leader.

indigenous leadership Bible

Second, Biblical immersion. We hear the Scripture. We hear again, tracing the Scripture onto our hands. We hear the Scripture for a third time, drawing the Scripture onto a blank hand. Together, using ears, hands, eyes, we immerse ourselves in ancient story. The hope is that this bypasses writing and text. It returns us to the Scriptures as aural. This connects with those who have highly developed skills in ways of learning other than Western.

indigenous leadership questions

Third, working with the story. In Adnyamathanha culture, we learn from a story by asking three questions. What is the rule for living? What does this tell us about the environment? What do we learn about the supernatural? We apply these indigenous questions, asking each other what we learn about God, about ministry, about life? The discussion is rich.

indigenous leadership next

Fourth, we hear the story again. Each of us are given a blank hand, which we hold. The immersion in Scripture, the discussion together, is gathered into a single question on a single blank hand. We ask ourselves – what do I most need to learn from this story? Who can I learn from?

This is our homework. We will connect our learning journey with our wider community. Next time we gather, we will come enriched by the wisdom of our ancestors. This will become our “assessment.” We will re-tell the story, enriched both by our discussion together and our seeking out of wisdom from our wider community.

All done, not by privileging books, but “living libraries” – us and others.

Posted by steve at 04:10 PM

1 Comment

  1. Monday 01-06-2015

    Beaut! Two other options to try ….
    1 have a body torso shape on which to draw … body art was significant in performative singing / dancing / storying; possibly male and female shapes … ask them.
    2 have a sand box … i.e. big tray with about 3 cm of sand / dust / dirt. People can draw in the sand with fingers / sticks / wire [at a tangent … for a different style of sand drawing look for videos of Kseniya Simonova – she is phenomenal].
    3 if people are willing, record what they say when they return and share what they have heard from the community.
    4 alert them to discrimination of their own personal ideas and ideas from the community with respect to the broad gamut of Scripture interpreting Scripture.John Stott has a good section about five tests – see Bible Speaks Today 1 Thessalonians 5:21

    Comment by Phil Townsend — June 1, 2015 @ 11:35 pm

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