I work with exceptionally bright and deep thinkers at Asbury Seminary. I don’t know if they did this on purpose but VP for Student Life J.D. Walt and Professor of OT Lawson Stone both have written killer posts on branding. They are thinking specifically about their context within a 21st century seminary but their essays are general enough that they deserve wide circulation.
Archive for the ‘learning’ Category
I’ve been a Wooden fan since hearing an interview with him a couple of years ago. I’ve enjoyed several of his books. Last year I read Wooden on Leadership: How to Create a Winning Organizaion by John Wooden and Steve Jamison. This book distills the wisdom and leadership principles embodied and taught by legendary UCLA basketball coach John Wooden. It is an outstanding read whether or not you enjoy basketball. Wooden’s approach to coaching is applicable to life in general. One of his mottos: “Make every day your masterpiece.”
One of Wooden’s strengths was his ability to grow continually. One of his best known quotations is this: “It’s what you learn after you know it all that counts.” Here is a collection of some of his best wit.
On the critical importance of lifelong learning (especially after tasting some level of success), he writes:
It is very easy to get comfortable in a position of leadership, to believe that you’ve got all the answers, especially when you begin to enjoy some success. People start telling you that you’re the smartest one around. But if you believe them, you’re just the dumbest one around. That’s one of the reasons it’s extremely difficult to stay at the top-because once you get there, it is so easy to stop listening and learning.
How are you continuing to learn and grow? This is a fitting question worthy of the legacy that Wooden lived and left for us.
There is an interesting conversation taking place through social media. A couple of days ago, Asbury President Tim Tennent tweeted: “is convinced that Asbury Seminary cannot prepare for post-Christendom unless we catalyze a church planting movement.”
In response, I opened up a full blown discussion on Twitter with the hashtag #seminarychurchplant. It is on going. Chad Brooks added the blogosphere to the conversation with a post on his Outside is Better blog.
How would you answer these questions?
What would it look like for a seminary to catalyze a church planting movement? What would have to change?
I am teaching a Doctor of Ministry seminar on hermeneutics titled “Biblical Interpretation for Church and World” for a group of international pastors through Asbury Seminary’s Beeson International Pastors program.
If you are interested in seeing the syllabus, you can download it here: missional hermeneutics. I am eager to meet the students who are all leaders from churches around the world. I am expecting to learn as much from these leaders as they will from me.
I’ll use this blog to post updates and key insights.
Here are the textbooks that I am using this week:
Bauckham, Richard. Bible and Mission: Christian Witness in a Postmodern World. Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2004. 128 pp.
Davis, Ellen F., and Richard B. Hays, eds. The Art of Reading Scripture. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2003.
Flemming, Dean. Contextualization of theology: An evangelical assessment. Downer’s Grove: IVP, 2005.
Goldingay, John. Models for Interpretation of Scripture. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1995.
Green, Joel. Seized by Truth: Reading the Bible As Scripture. Nashville: Abingdon, 2007.
Oswalt, John. Called to Be Holy. Evangel, 1999.
Wright, Christopher. The Mission of God: Unlocking the Bible’s Grand Narrative. Downers Grove: IVP, 2006.
I am working on a brief synopsis of biblical interpretation as a precursor for a more expanded discussion of how to move toward a missional hermeneutic for my upcoming book (re)Aligning with God: Reading Scripture for the Church and the World. Here are some of the key questions that an interpreter needs to think about while exegeting a passage. What else would you add?
Key Questions to Ponder:
1) Have I prayed for the Spirit’s guidance and direction?
2) Do I understand the geographical and /or cultural references in this passage?
3) How does our text function within the wider argument in the book?
4) What are the key words and phrases in the text? How are these words and phrases used elsewhere by our author?
5) If I am working on a NT text: What OT texts are alluded to or quoted? How does the OT passage illuminate the meaning of the text I am interpreting? For OT texts: Are there quotations or allusions to other texts in the OT? If so, how do the texts illuminate one another? Is there a NT appropriation of my text? How does the NT author understand the OT text?
6) How is my passage structured? How does the structure of the passage contribute to its meaning? Does the passage flow logically? How does the story flow spacially? How do the characters function within the story?
7) For those with facility in Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek: What nuances are present in the syntax and word order of the original language that are ambiguous or not explicit in the modern translations? Pay particular attention to verbal aspect and force of prepositions.
What are the major interpretive issues present in this text? How are these resolved in the major English translations?
9) What are the possible ways that we may misread the text based on the English text?
10) What is the genre of my text (narrative, parable, discursive, prophetic, apocalyptic)? How does the genre affect my understanding of the passage?
11) What does this text assume to be true? How do these assumptions affect our reading of the text?
12) What elements in the text may be offensive in our contemporary context? What issues raised will be difficult for insiders? What issues in the text will be difficult for outsiders? What are the obvious objects that one could raise to the claims of the text? In what ways does the text answer these objections?
© 2010 Brian D Russell
One of my theses for my forthcoming book on missional hermeneutics is that missional leaders must read the Scripture in the borderlands where the Church and World intersect so that both Christ followers and non-Christians can hear the Gospel when the word is proclaimed or taught.
Yet each of these contexts present different challenges for the interpreter. Here is a bare bones sketch of some of my ideas about the challenges presented by each.
Challenges for hearing the Scriptures in the Church:
1) over-familiarity with the text
Hearing the message of the text can be hindered at times from an (supposed?) over-familiarity with the Bible.
2) fear of sounding heretical:
3) Reading the Bible in the Church creates a tendency to play it safe with the text.
4) the boxes that we build theologically:
5) Predestination, freewill, belief that there are no actual tensions between texts, etc.
6) ignorance of the text in the Church
While some in the Church are over-familiar with the Bible, there are countless others who are ignorant of its basic teaching.
7) emphasis on discipleship as the attainment of knowledge rather than the shaping of person for deployment in God’s mission
There has been an overemphasis on stressing knowing the details of the Bible without reflecting adequately on the function of the details or the demand of a given text on the life of its readers.
Challenges of Reading for the World
1) Religious/cultural pluralism
2) Contested truth claims – avoid straw men
3) Ignorance of the biblical message
4) Political correctness/sensitivity
5) Elephants in the room - can’t avoid problem passages
What else would you add?