I am going to explore the vocation of theological educator in a series of posts. Although I have academic settings in mind, we could also imagine how these ruminations might be applicable to the vocation of pastor/priest, Sunday school teacher, and even parent. By way of disclaimer, the subject in question is Christian theology, and I make no apologies for discussing its instruction from the standpoint of faith.
Let’s begin with a role that, while not exclusively or comprehensively defining the theological educator, is nonetheless quite central: a theological educator leads students to fearful places.
The French philosopher Albert Camus describes the great value of travel as “fear”. “It is the fact”, he explains
that, at a certain moment, when we are so far from our own country … we are seized by a vague fear, and an instinctive desire to go back to the protection of old habits … At that moment, we are feverish but also porous, so that the slightest touch makes us quiver to the depths of our being (Notebooks 1935-1942, pp. 13-14).
Instruction in theology – teaching for the transformation of the whole person for the purpose of embracing one’s role in the drama of redemption - entails leading students out of their “own countr[ies]” of thought and belief to places that invite the consideration of long-held presuppositions, biases, and assumptions. Doing so involves “fear” because Continue reading