advent is one of my favorite times of the year. this is true for so many reasons, including the basic fact that i love cold weather and most everywhere i've lived (save kingston jamaica) this season marks the return of freezing weather. but more importantly, because my spirituality is a wintery spirituality, as martin marty once refered to it. i feel always, but most profoundly during this season, the longing of the world. to quote john wesley's great advent hymn 'lo! he comes with clouds descending', i feel the world's suffering and in that still hope for the prince of peace. wesley: 'deeply wailing, deeply wailing, deeply wailing, shall their true messiah see.'
anyway, onwards to the main point of the post. i'm trying (if i may be modest but honest) to encourage the overthrow of theological education as we know it by helping to develop a philosophical critique of the lingering positivism that so regularly places priority on theory over experience and in theological education has marginalized the 'practical areas' in relation to bible, history, and theology. many increasingly feel (and say) that this is wrong, but the institutional power and formation habits of the academy reinforce and replicate this generation after generation. i'm working on this in relation to learning ministry--that is, how does one learn to do something well that requires a certian sort of practical and wise action in the world? and i was up early reading eric matthews' *the philosophy of merleau-ponty* as a way to get behind or around the deeply cartisean and kantian mentalist assumptions in the dominance of theory over practice.
then, after the kids woke up and we got waffles cooked, grace came wandering into the kitchen singing o come, o come, emanuel and i got the matches to light the candle on the advent wreath in the middle of our table as i joined in singing with her. isaiah and sonja followed her in and as we sat down, all singing, i thought how lovely it was to be led by our five year old. afterwards, i said to sonja we should sing a different verse each week and help the kids learn the meaning of the imagery. she said, are you kidding? if we just sing the first verse every week, we're doing great. they don't need to understand it--they just need to know that we do it, and they'll understand it later.
right. practice gives rise to theory. incarnation first. then the doctrine.
anon and peace