Feb 12, 2007 On Personality and Developmental TheoryAnthony Foster - Feb 10, 2007 11:11 pm

Encountering Truth- Critical Reading as a Spiritual Discipline

Reading is not usually considered a spiritual discipline unless it is the Bible, but I would contend that reading done as unto the Lord can be as pleasing to God as an act of worship. I sometimes have to remind myself (or be reminded) of this when the mountain of reading on my desk looks insurmountable.

Anthony Foster - Feb 11, 2007 9:59 pm

Spiritual is as Spiritual does

Oops, let me clarify further, lest i be misunderstood; I am saying that while most Christians might not look at reading at large as a form of spiritual discipline, I am not one who thinks that way... I think it actually is.

I think we can read just about anything and if we filter it through the biblical grid, we are in effect, parsing the culture in the light of the Scriptures, a spiritual discipline where the Church is sorely lacking in praxis. We cannot take every thought captive if we are not reading what the world is writing; but we do have to be sure of our terms of engagement, I think. I am sure some will not agree with me.

Anthony Foster - Feb 14, 2007 4:43 pm

Developing Leaders

There is often a false dichotomy between nature and nurture. We see developmental aspects of how human giftedness can be nurtured and maximized all along the developmental stages of life. It seems to me that the prescription for developing leaders is multifaceted, but one way to start is to focus on building Christian leaders in the areas of social cognition, understanding others, empathy, and altruism from an early age.

Self-esteem plays a role in the world's leadership models, but in our environment developing servant hearts is something to be esteemed- much like esteeming others to be better than yourself. This too is developmental in nature- learning that the last shall be first and the first last is an exercise in post-formal thinking. The art of listening is both intentionally developed and discerningly applied. The way of wisdom is a living way and developmental by its very nature.

From a creation-fall-redemption paradigm, we see developmental aspects as frail children of dust learn that Chriat is their sufficiency and that we can stand boldly before the throne of grace. What is impossible for us in and of ourselves is possible in Christ. When I look back upon the great leaders of a couple of generations ago, people I grew up admiring were those who had turned poverty, failure, weakness and even war and death into a platform for developing greatness by putting one foot in front of the other by faith.

They developed spiritual muscles I can only hope by grace to attain. Through their faith they saw redemptive activity arise from the ashes of the conflagrations that just about destroyed their world in two world wars be turned around to attain great things for God in their hearts, homes, and communities. I sometimes wonder at how crisis times played a redemptively developmental role in raising up an Churchill or a Lincoln. We have a great hope in the fact that God created us to develop into the likeness of Christ; we can hope to redeem the time we are allotted and to also see the days the locusts ate be restored. Thanks be to God!

Anthony Foster - Feb 15, 2007 5:49 pm Ministers of Education

A church I was associated with (I was mentoring one of its associate pastors) for about five years saw a battle between the Senior Pastor and the Minister of Education up until a time when the pastor had a character lapse. The church struggled to come to a biblical stance, and the Minister of Education left for a senior pastorate of a major church, and the church languished for three years without a ME.

That church suffered in many ways- it grew wider during those early years but not deeper, and eventually the wideness receded as the slight roots that were being nurtured could not stand over time.

I do think the ME has to be rightly trained and the church itself has to see the value for it to work out. As Bama Bill and I have agreed, the Training Union is another thing that needs to be resurrected in Baptist life. I have a collection of TU courses from the 1940's thru the 1960's and am amazed at the quality and depth of some of the content in these.

Anthony Foster - Feb 16, 2007 11:41 pm (5.13)

Andragogy's shortfalls

A key problem with adult learning theories is how they define adults. Whether a learner does or does not thrive in a self directed learning model relates more to personal preference and learning style than whether they are adults. Some children fit Knowles' description of adult learners more than some adults ever will, and even where adults do pursue self directed learning, they may be successful when undertaking learning in a particular discipline yet not in another. Some of the theories related to andragogy may still attain, but as I have said, I believe how adults interact with them is dependent upon their level of deleopment in terms of personal agency and practical experience. Not every full- fledged adult, for instance, will thrive in a self directed online environment. One size does not fit all. Neither should we throw the adult out with the bathwater

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