Friday, February 18, 2011

Silence that "Inner Pharisee"

I am taking this amazing class with Rodger Nishioka called "Teaching the Bible through Liberative Pedagogy".  In a nutshell, we're focusing on non-oppressive forms of teaching, ways to create dialogue and empower others.  First and foremost, we recognize as Parker Palmer says, that we teach ourselves, or we teach what we love and how we see the world.  So, a good teacher must be aware of that and know what other voices to bring into the discussion.  Walter Wink also had this amazing paragraph about taking a posture of learning as a teacher in order to make way for "transformational" teaching as opposed to "informational" teaching:

"Unless, as leaders, we ourselves are 'on the way,' and are struggling at the long, arduous, largely unseen task of integrating the lost or wounded parts of our own selves; unless we are fighting daily to silence the voice of our own inner 'pharisee' and to affirm the divine word that declares us forgiven, loved, and accepted at the very heart of the universe; unless we are working at identifying the ways we project elements of ourselves onto others, and are claiming these back as lost aspects of ourselves; unless we are trying to alter our own lifestyles toward practices that are ecologically sound and economically just--then our leadership will hardly evoke these kinds of commitments in others."
-Walter Wink, 1980, Transforming Bible Study
As I'm nearing graduation and looking forward to that day when I will join with a church as a pastor, I'm comforted by the fact that teaching and preaching is not about telling people how it is, and that the long, arduous task of struggling with life is a life long and communal struggle.   Wow, what would it look like if we all were "on the way", not feeling guilty for the ways we're not there yet, not claiming to be there when we aren't, not worried out of our mind because we're not there yet, but just happy to be walking together on the journey, one step at a time, enjoying those around us and encouraging others to keep going.  Now, that would be a fun road trip.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Preaching before Presbytery

Tuesday I had my final examination before my own presbytery.  We had a beautiful worship service, everyone seemed receptive of my sermon, and they questioned me over the Bible, Polity, Worship and Theology. They voted to approve me for ordination pending my receipt of a call(in other words: offered a position as a pastor of a church)! I've made a video of moments from the worship service and posted it below. Thanks to all of you who helped out!  My full sermon is also posted below in a separate video.  In it I reference the Old Testament reading from 1 Samuel 1:4-28 .  So if you are unfamiliar with Hannah's encounter with Eli the Priest, you might want to watch the worship clips or read the passage here in preparation. Enjoy!