ministry formation week 3

Sure, there was some interesting content in the biblical theology section of the class: the history of the way that people have understood the bible, and the way it fits together, make for some interesting reading. Having a better understanding of how far we take the postmodern idea of the way that a reader is affected by a text was also worthwhile, but the main thing for me today was the discussion around the book The Contemplative Pastor.

Essentially, there are two main reasons for busy-ness: vanity and laziness. The former is the desire to be seen to be busy: a way of measuring your worth is how many things you’re involved in. The latter refers to the laziness of not setting your own goals, and deciding what is important, and instead allowing others to set these goals for you.

It would seem that I suffer from both of these maladies in varying proportion.

More telling of the deeply pervasive need to be busy was the in-class exercise that followed. We were asked to list 2 or 3 things that we would do if we were setting our own goals, without worrying about what others thought. This was fine, but as the discussion progressed, we ended up with a list of around 10 different things: even as we seek not to be busy, it would appear that our habit is to make ourselves more and more busy, but with “more worthwhile” things.

The biggest challenge facing college students (we mused on the idea of the unbusy student for a while, but it seems something of an impossibility) is to maintain their habit of regular bible reading and prayer. I have to say that I’m struggling to add in an extra hour per day of greek, and the more personal spiritual disciplines are falling by the wayside as a result. My plan to fix this? Go back to the Psalms. I’m going to make my side goal of writing out the Psalms by hand a higher priority, and spend some time praying through each Psalm as I write it out. More on this later (if anyone is curious).

For now, goodnight: I’m working on another lacking trait in the life of the theological student (and pastor) – sleep.

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