Saturday, October 21, 2006
Training for ministry

One of my favorite books I've been working on this semester has been Henri Nouwen's Reaching Out for my hospitality class. In a chapter entitled "Hospitality and the Host" he tells the story of an African minister, who after several years in the ministry, entered into some formal theological training. The experience led the man to a place of more questions than answers and to a place of much un-learning of his previous practice of ministry. As Nouwen says,
This story illustrates that well-educated ministers are not individuals who can tell you exactly who God is, where good and evil are and how to travel from this world to the next, but people whose articulate not-knowing makes them free to listen to the voice of God in the words of the people, in the events of the day and in the books containing the life experience of men and women from other places and other times. In short, learned ignorance makes one able to recieve the word froms others and the Other with great attention (105).

Ah yes, I am in seminary to articulate not-knowing and to learn ignorance.

He continues with something that I just might have to sloganize as the purpose for this here seminary thing I find myself embroiled in:
Training for service is not a training to become rich but to become voluntarily poor; not to fulfill ourselves but to empty ourselves; not to conquer God but to surrender to his saving power (108).

posted by Peter at 11:45 PM
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