Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Theological education / Healing

A question came up in last week's class which has been knocking around my brain. I didn't have an answer at the time, but as always - after the fact - it has come to me. The question was how can seminary education be about the "cure of the soul".

First, I think we need to talk about healing, not cure. Now that we've established that particular bias of mine...

I think we can only teach/learn anything with integrity once it becomes an integrated part of educational experiences. Praxis! We can't learn "the cure of the soul" by reading about it, or trying it out on an unsuspecting congregation, we need to learn by practicing it in our very own classrooms. To that end, I have been reflecting on seminary classes to date which have been about that task for me, and what elements were present. The following list comes to mind (non-exhaustive) -
  • beginning and/or ending with prayer and greeting one another
  • safe environment encouraging/rewarding risk - the best i've seen so far would be great models of appreciative inquiry, starting from the best of "what is" and filling in the gaps for "what might be even better". I have to say, I've used "AI" in business contexts before, with very good outcomes, but experiencing it in the classroom is phenomenal!
  • safe environment for personal sharing - I think the previous item sets the stage for this one
  • the conversational equivalent of "white space" - in class time for reflection prior to discussion periods. Let me tell you, introverts love it! It gives us a chance to get a word in edgewise. It's also a great way to model some of what we learn in pastoral care about not rushing to fill empty space in conversations.
I'm sure there are others...if you can think of some, feel free to comment.

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