Thursday, September 21, 2006

The Power of Community

One of the more difficult decisions I made over the last year was where to train for the ordained ministry. The choice basically came down to two colleges. One of them had lots and lots of people like me, most of whom had pretty similar views to where I was coming from (not all of which views I entirely agreed with, of which more later I guess). Most of the teaching was done by lectures, also done by people with a similar background to me, where you were told stuff and expected to absorb and learn it.

The other college had lots of people, but many of them not like me, though most sharing a few basic assumptions (authority of Scripture, etc). Teaching was mostly done by being told to read a lot and write lots of essays, then being expected to be able to argue through the issues one on one with people who knew a lot about the field. A lot of the course was done by non-Christians in a secular university, but within the support of a Christian community.

I chose the latter, and I'm glad I did. If I learnt in a community with people with similar backgrounds and opinions, I'd either end up agreeing with them without having really engaged with the issues, or I'd end up disagreeing with them because I'm sometimes contrary like that. This way, I get to make my own mind up as to what the Bible teaches, while being exposed to a broader range of opinions, and there is much less likely to be compulsion to take (or oppose) a party line.

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