Rather than a to-do list, right now I have a to-think list. I have so many things on my mind these days – most notably, of
course, the new baby who was due today but who we thought was coming
into the world last week. But in addition to the new addition to our
family, my internship has revealed to me just how much I still need to
learn about faith, God, theology, ministry, church, life. This experience is sending my mind racing, creating in me an eagerness to read and explore and ask questions.
following are a few of the topics swimming around in my head:
- piety – I have done little study on the history of
pietism or the role of piety in the faith life of a believer, but I’m
coming to believe that personal piety is an essential element of faith
and the Christian life, something that we East Coast Lutherans have rejected to our detriment. What exactly that piety looks like, and how it
is practiced – that is a huge question I want to explore both by study, through my personal practice of piety, and by working in the congregation.
- eschatology – I’m becoming increasingly convinced that our
understanding of death, afterlife, and the end of time determines how
we live and act today. This is particularly on my mind after my blog reflection on All Saints
and All Souls, my sermon
on All Saints Sunday, and my early preparation for two sermons in Advent. As we
approach the end of the church year and the season of Advent, the lectionary begs for us to preach on eschatological themes, to look for the return of Christ into our midst. May I suggest a new carol for the season? ‘Tis the season to be eschatological!
- trinity – I have an Approval essay due on March 1. The
heart of the essay focuses on trinitarian theology and it’s
implications for the church’s worship life and ministry. I’m not as
personally interested in this issue as I am in questions of piety and eschatology, but it is important for my formation and this process . . . and it is
- church administration – I’m spending the year in a larger
congregation and I find myself very curious and interested in
strategies of church leadership. What is the best way to lead a
congregation? What is the appropriate share of staff vs. lay
leadership responsibilities? How does theology or tradition inform our
structure and organization? How is the church’s mission carried out
through an organizational structure? And how does the congregation’s community and worship life impact the faith experience and daily faith practice of its members?
Well, so much more to ask, so much more to think about. And of course, the baby should come any day, any moment, any minute now. Yup. Lots on my mind.
5 thoughts on “My To-Think List”
Blessings as you work on your essay for approval. I particularly like your view on personal piety. I have found fixed hour prayer, lectio divina etc. to be invaluable parts of my devotional life. Certainly those of us serving/preparing to serve Christ’s church, should do God’s work with God’s power.
By the way, I just received a favorable decision Saturday for entrance. I’m very excited about what the future holds.
The pietist movement is an interesting phenomenon, and one with which I can sympathize, given the situation at the time.
Piety as a practice is over-rated, however. In fact, the “pious” usually drive me bats.
Wow…a weighty “to think list”. My brain is hurting to thinking about it 🙂
Anyway…with “church administration” take advantage of your internship time to explore this more. I found that seminary did not spend much time (actually none that I can recall) on this topic. You have to go after it if you want to explore it.
God bless you as you think and pnder those topics. I look forward to hearing your thoughts on your “thinking” journey.
Also…God bless you and your wife in the impending arrival of your child. Take care.
Good luck with the essay; it was a tough one.
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