25 August 2008

a few notes on orientation...

Today classes began. I am not all that overwhelmed yet (as I am a mere 3.5 hours into my career here). I remain oriented (thanks in part to 2 and half full days of orientation) but look forward to being utterly disoriented in the near future (starting with the writing assessment assignment that I'm finishing tonight, due tomorrow. Here are a few notes from last week's orientation. I post them more for myself to look back on in the future than for the immediate edification of anyone else. We first got a brief sermon from Rev. Canon Sam Wells. He spoke about our preparation for ministry and what it means to be a minister of the gospel. He spoke of our call to be set apart and mentioned how we (the Church) in America (unlike his native Britain) have no idea of the power we possess (numbers, money, social influence, etc...). He then (in accordance with his book, Passion & Power) made distinctions about our kind of power in the gospel. He also elaborated on 4 kinds of power we possess and must hone as ministers: Silence, Touch, Words, and Prayer. Each one works with the other three to promote God's kingdom in our local spheres.
We later heard from the Divinity School Dean L. Greg Jones. He's done much work and writing on reconciliation and the bulk of his address dealt with us, as a diverse and ecumenical community, bracing for small brushes and conflicts as we all seek to learn and follow Christ despite the fact that we come from all over (geographically, denominationally, racially, socioeconomically, etc...). Keys to this and our ministry outside of the div school walls were laid out in a series of virtues:
  • interpretive charity- a sort of giving others the benefit of the the doubt, James 1:19 style
  • truthfulness- which, at its best, is anti-passive aggressive
  • humility- which we explore Acts 15 for a picture and also recount Paul's phrase, that we indeed do see, but through a glass darkly.
  • courage- to assimilate all of these, to initiate community and to balance and hold in tension the poles of truth and love.

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