Hearts and minds on fire
by Jeff Gissing | @jeffgissing
Lauren Winner is interviewed at Comment, a journal of Cardus (a think tank dedicated to the renewal of North American social architecture). It’s an interview that’s worth reading. I’ll pull out some highlights below. Thanks to Andy Byers (@Byers_Andy) for the link.
Two Qualities of a minister…
I teach future pastors at a divinity school because I believe that thinking well matters—I want my students’ future congregations to be guided by pastors who know how to think clearly, think well about (among other things) theology, politics, and history.
-Lauren F. Winner
Two qualities ought to be present and mutually-reinforcing in a minister: vital piety and a well-formed mind.
Parts of the church have elevated piety and made it to stand alone. A heart of fire is enough for these people, and they do not trust the mind. Others have emphasized the life of the mind and have come to distrust the heart.
In reality the two must go together–a heart burning with love to God and others as well as a keen mind with which one worships God and seeks to know God through His self-disclosure in Scripture.
Five books you should read…
- Reading Like a Writer, Francine Prose
- What It Is, Lynda Barry
- The Shallows, Nicholas Carr
- The End of the Novel of Love, Vivian Gornick
- U and I, Nicholson Baker
Reading is indispensable for those in leadership, especially for those whose leadership is in the church. Guiding a community of people is a complicated task at the best of times, especially when that group of people are “strangers and aliens” in the midst of a culture that no longer (if it ever really did) understands its story in the story of God.
The minister has an essential task of being rooted in the redemptive history of God and, at the same time, interpret and apply that story to a people who are also located in the world (which has a competing story). It’s impossible to do either of these things without reading. The Biblical world requires both knowledge and understanding. The contemporary world also requires hermeneutical skill and tools. The minister is, as John Stott’s book puts it, between two worlds.
In what ways do you think it important for ministers to be trained?