Archive for the ‘Education’ Category

Awe and Wonder: Whither Theological Education?

Friday, April 4th, 2014 by Nimi Wariboko

aweAn important dimension of any religion is the feelings of awe that arise with encounters with the holy and the beautiful. Otto Rudolf in his 1917 book, The Idea of the Holy, argues that the experience of the numinous, the sacred, the holy is the ineffable core of religion. When persons encounter and experience the sacred they develop a sense of dependency on something objective, external, and greater than them. The experience of the numinous takes two related forms: (a) terrifying experience of the “wholly other,” and (b) fascination. Where can we encounter these experiences? Read the rest of this entry »

African Pentecostal Kinetic Preaching, Part 2

Wednesday, March 19th, 2014 by Nimi Wariboko

african_preaching_2In Part I of this essay, I examined the kinetic nature of African Pentecostal preaching.  We discussed the sheer energetic force of preaching as a full-blooded dramatic performance. The performance requires an ensemble of skills that draws the people to one another, to the preacher, and to God. In that very act of centripetal collation and knitting of emotions and foci, there is a subtle mastery of centrifugal energy fashioned to maintain a circle of aura around the preacher. This is what I want to discuss today. My guiding question remains: are seminaries in the North America adequately preparing their students for this kind of preaching?  Read the rest of this entry »

African Pentecostal Kinetic Preaching: Can Seminaries Prepare Students for It?

Saturday, March 15th, 2014 by Nimi Wariboko

african_preachingIt is a moving sight to behold. Thousands of people simultaneously praying in unison, spitting out words as bullets in a rapid-fire mode, heads shaking violently, muscles and nerves taut in deployment, and all are enveloped in air thick with dust and humidity. The ground quakes as they enthusiastically stamp their feet on the floor. Young men and women are rapidly punching the air with clenched fists and angrily wagging their fingers at the devil. And flesh, aided by rivulets of hot sweat, holds on tightly to fabric. Bodies, broken bodies, hungry bodies, rich bodies, old bodies, young bodies, sway toward one another. Worship is a running splash of bodies and words—flung and scattered among four corners like broken mask in the square. This na prayer; this is the aesthetics of talking to God in African Pentecostal gathering. Prayer is a dynamo of excess energy leaping like flames in a dry-season burning bush and heading straight from earth to the throne room of God. But are our seminaries preparing students for this ministry? Read the rest of this entry »

‘Chile,’ We Don’t Even Know the Half!: A Reflection on African American History — The Soul of American History

Tuesday, February 4th, 2014 by Antipas Harris

bhmFall 2013, I was blessed at the invitation of Archbishop Idem Ikon of Revival Valley Ministries International to travel Nigeria for the first time! The experience was  another life-changing one. In the picture to the lower right, I stood in a beautiful garden just off of the shores of  a river in Cross River.

This could be my ancestor’s home – I don’t know! That very area where I stood, gazing into the beautiful greenery is where, during the late 18th–early 19th centuries, many African people were forced to board slave ships to begin a 6 month (or more) journey to the Americas. Read the rest of this entry »

Concerning the Future of Theological Education: Disciplinary Integration in Curriculum

Monday, January 13th, 2014 by Antipas Harris

futureoftheologicaleducation“Practical” Theology as a discipline emerged, in part, as a result of critical concerns that “Systematic” and “Historical” Theology had distinguished themselves as academic disciplines with less and less concern for issues in everyday Christian practice. Stated differently, there was a need for a more serious engagement with matters that face the church and Christians’ everyday life.

In the late 1900s, the emergence of practical theology as a discipline seemed necessary. The theological methodologies within other academic approaches to theology seemed to work well within the academy for those traditional purposes of theological education at the time. Yet, as the 1994 Murdock Charitable Trust Report alarmed the need for changes in theological education. Partly, the report pointed towards the need for a greater connection between the theological academy, the local churches, and the everyday Christian life. The current theological education at the time had become an ivy tower of its own. The necessary relationship between the theological institution, including theological curriculum, and the church, including the everyday life of believers, seemed lacking. Read the rest of this entry »

The Technocrat and the Midwife: Two Models of Education

Wednesday, October 2nd, 2013 by Dale M. Coulter

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Call the Midwife … 'We don't go out on bikes.'

 

 

There remains a fundamental tension in the American approach to education between the “utilitarian” model and the “liberal arts” model. It has been the case from the push toward higher education in the mid-nineteenth century with the importation of German models of learning. This tension is grounded in two competing impulses of American life: a pragmatic spirit and a democratic populism.

The pragmatic spirit in America drove the industrial revolution during the Gilded Age and Progressive Eras (1865-1920). It led to the creation of institutes whose primary task was to advance technological aptitude and discovery. These “institutes of technology” the most famous of which is MIT, began in the late nineteen century and have dotted the landscape ever since.

Democratic populism, on the other hand, was less about technological advance and more about forming the soul of individuals and thus the soul of a nation. Americans took  to heart Matthew Arnold’s admonition that a democracy must find a unifying principle beyond the monarch. This unifying principle would be a culture–a national identity grounded in common values–that shaped the individuals within it. While pluralism always questions what is common, democratic populism, at its best, pulled the nation back to the original ideals of “we hold these truths.” With its focus on exploring the ultimate ends of human existence, the liberal arts model aimed at the moral formation of students.

We need to acknowledge the tensions between these models and also the way in which each model conceives the role of the faculty member.

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