It has begun. I’m taking my first seminary class at Luther Seminary (where it is currently 34 degrees–fairly mild) called Ministry with Children, Youth, and Family: Theological and Strategic Frameworks (with Andrew Root). Or it could be called Theology for Ministry with Children, Youth, and Families, if that makes more sense. Two of the foundational texts for the class are:
- The Cross in Our Context: Jesus and the Suffering World by Douglas John Hall. This is a brief systematic-ish theology looking through the lens of the theology of the cross. It was pretty good and stands in start contrast to some of the popular ministry principles of the church.
- The Soul of Ministry: Forming Leaders for God’s People by Ray Anderson. I’ve just started this book, but it’s basic premise is that to do ministry is to do theology. A quote:
Whether we realize it or not, every act of ministry reveals something of God. By act of ministry I mean a sermon preached, a lesson taught, a marriage performed, counsel offered, and any other word or act that people might construe as carrying God’s blessing, warning, or judgment (7).
Anderson’s book is good thus far, and I’m curious to see how he develops ministry as distinct from life. It seems to me that the statement could also be made (and I tend to make it) that to live life is to do theology, that every act of ours speaks of God, whether it is “ministry” or not.
I owe a debt of gratitude to Dr. Castleman, whose classes during undergrad instilled within me a love for theology. It is so much easier to participate in and interact with (and understand!) the class because of my theological background. It makes class really enjoyable when you don’t have to worry about what words mean or tons of concepts are brand-new.
I was a little worried that there would be a lot of overlap between my undergraduate education and my current classes, but with this class that hasn’t been the case. I’m sure classes like church history will seem redundant.
On another note, it has definitely been interesting to be at an official ELCA seminary where the majority of the students are lifelong ELCA church-goers. And there is chapel every single day. I haven’t been, yet.