I left my own seminary experience thinking this new way of thinking is one of the most important things I learned in the last few years. And it probably was.
One class in particular helped me solidify the process of thinking theologically. In this week’s episode of Three Minute Ministry Mentor, I share some of that story with you.
Thinking spiritually and theologically – especially when that thinking takes on form and action in our bodies, relationships, and lives – is a significant gift that the world needs now. Thinking theologically involves stories and embodied experience – not just thinking.
This week I am leading a seminary travel course to Cuba. We are having the wonderful experience of sharing in new (and renewed) relationships with Cuban pastoras. Women who shepherd the flock in Cuba are meeting with students and faculty and friends from Central Seminary for study, reflection, and of course lots of story sharing.
The timing is perfect.
We are also standing at the big turning point in the church year called Pentecost. I’ve written about the power of that moment of the church’s story before. And as we turn to Ordinary Time, we focus on the growth and flourishing of faith. In the world where we live today, we focus on the challenges, changes, and need for repentance. We focus on the renewal of faith and of churches.
To help prepare our students for loving God and serving the world, for thinking theologically, we have set some goals for our travel course and for women who are leading the church now and in the future.
With an immersion in a new and potentially unfamiliar cultural and religious setting, students on this trip to Cuba will engage actively:
- To observe and enter respectfully into religious settings, beliefs and practices beyond their familiar world;
- To observe and practice interpretation of scripture in a context not their own;
- To observe and learn how Christian theology and the practice of ministry take shape in multiple cultural settings;
- To observe and practice spiritual formation and self-care in a new cultural setting;
- To evaluate and reimagine their own scriptural interpretations, understandings of Christianity, practice of ministry and spiritual formation in light of all that they observe and experience;
- To observe women in leadership and engage in cross-cultural, experiential learning about women’s leadership in the church.
These goals are one way we are learning to think theologically. We are paying attention to the significance of building relationships, asking important and uncomfortable questions, and listening patiently to each other. All of these activities are part of thinking theologically about God, humanity, ministry, and fullness of creation.
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