Blessed are the Balanced: A Seminarian's Guide to Following Jesus in the Academy - eBook
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|Format: DRM Free ePub|
Vendor: Kregel Publications
Publication Date: 2013
Theological education can cool your love for the Lord. It's sad by true. Learning that is not fully integrated into your daily life and patterns of living can lead to spiritual detachment. On the other hand, theological studies that are properly processed over time (with sufficient time for reflection and service) can aid your loving service toward God and others. Before entering into a theological program (seminary, divinity school, or other graduate studies), you need to come up with a plan to help you balance the head knowledge with heart patterns. Blessed are the Balanced will guide you as you learn to pursue both scholarship and the Kingdom.
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A Cluttered MindRochester, MNAge: 45-54Gender: male3 Stars Out Of 5A step in the right directionAugust 19, 2014A Cluttered MindRochester, MNAge: 45-54Gender: maleIt's been many a year since I traversed the classrooms and hallways of Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. Yet I can remember the battle that went on to keep a vast amount of knowledge from sucking the life out of my affections for Christ. At times, I readily dismissed the 'theologs' who would sit for hours (or at least it seemed so to me) and do nothing but discuss the minutiae of various doctrines. At other times, I would find myself eagerly devouring the content because I knew this was what I was called to do: learn, study, prepare.
This is the battle for which both authors are striving to lend assistance to the seminary student. Pettit and Mangum want to lay to rest the worn-out hack about men and women going to 'cemetery' to prepare for ministry. They each long for the student to take the knowledge they are learning and turn it to great devotion and affection for God. It's not an easy task. It's not that seminary professors attempt to suck the life out of their subjects. No; in fact, many of them are very passionate about their subjects. But, when the typical student is going from 'Eschatology & Ecclesiology' for one hour, on to 'Church History: Post-Reformation', followed by another hour of 'Sin, Salvation & Man', and finally, concluding the afternoon with 'Missions 101'; well, that's a vast array of content and it just gets crammed into one's brain quickly.
Blessed Are The Balanced seeks to show the vital connection between learning about God and living for God. The authors offer up a chapter on disciplining the head and the heart, which I found, for the most part, helpful. I'm bothered by their inclusion of some 'ancient practices' such as lectio divina and the Jesuit practice of 'examen', disciplines which are not precisely prescribed in Scripture.
The chapter on 'Humble Service' was a good addition. 'Knowledge puffs up,' says the apostle; and indeed it can. Nothing lends itself to pride and hubris like the feeling one gets at discovery. Join that with the majority's desire to take this knowledge and go forth to teach others and there are many temptations which can lead to trouble. This chapter is a welcome antidote to that.
All in all, I'd say this is a helpful book. If I had to recommend it (which I am doing, by the way), I'd commend it to the pastors in churches where young men & women are giving thought to pursuing seminary. 'Take up and read' and then pass it on to that future student. Also, to the leaders of student advisor/advisee groups (if they still do such things as they did when I was in seminary), read this and keep tabs on your students. Lastly, to seminary professors, I'd offer this and one other piece of advice: at the close of each class session, have two things ready. First, a short devotional thought on the content for that day which fuels the affections of the heart for God. Second, a hymn which gives praise or thanks to God, so the fuel gained can now be ignited in worship.
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