Wednesday, October 31, 2012

the colours of formation

“Ministerial formation is a life-long process. It involves the whole person.” (This quote comes from our Uniting College Formation Panel handbook.)

That is so provocative. How does what a theological college offers give expression to what is life-long and embodied? It is so tempting to assume those who join us are blank slates, in whom we need to download everything they need. It is equally tempting to assume that we have more influence than reality, because a person has countless influences in their lives outside of the theological college experience – family, friends, sport, church – that makes them who they are.

So how does ministerial formation respect the past and integrate the whole? One way to conceptualise this is through categories of theological study, ministry practice and formation. To seek to place equal weight on class, experience and the non-formal practices and disciplines.

Which got me thinking colours. You see, part of the whole person is our visual and our sensory. Part of the whole person means thinking not only in words, but also in colours.

If you had to choose one colour, what colour is theological study?
If you had to choose one colour, what colour is ministry practice?
If you had to choose one colour, what colour is formation?

Posted by steve at 06:11 PM


  1. Can you look at white representing the whole person because it’s made up of all colours in the spectrum? Each of the other colours contributing to the whole.

    Comment by Anne Wilson — October 31, 2012 @ 6:55 pm

  2. Love that sense of integration through white. But would love to have each of the three things (ministry practice, formation, academic) with a different colour.

    Perhaps a white centre, all the three colours bleed into one!


    Comment by steve — October 31, 2012 @ 10:28 pm

  3. I remember a tutorial discussion conducted sitting on the lawn outside on a lovely spring day. I began it with the question, Is this grass green or does it only appear to be green? Among all the responses I especially remember the former art teacher who said “Actually green is the only color it isn’t. It looks green because it reflects that part of the spectrum while absorbing all the others.” And we were off. For him, that was the thin edge of the wedge. He dis overhead that his background in art could be a full part of his theigicak formation and it continues to be a rich part of his ministry.

    Comment by Andrew — October 31, 2012 @ 11:45 pm

  4. Are you aware that LCD screens only have red, green and blue lights and use them in different ratios to make all the colours (including white)? When I first thought of your question, I thought a single colour was a bit too restrictive to reflect the light of contextual ministry – what we seem to be encouraging our people to be is chameleons, crafting our approach to meet the needs of our tables. Life in the Spirit scintillates and blows where it will.

    Perhaps your model needs to think of a fourth category, with integration (formation) retaining the white that both is the representation of all brought together in harmony and also the colour of a canvas that is ready to be painted by our creator… There are some nice colour wheels available on Google images if you just put in red green blue.

    Comment by David — November 1, 2012 @ 7:42 am

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