Thursday, February 01, 2007

Reflections on Pastoral Theology

This is the final installment (you/I might be pleased to know) of reflections on my first semester modules. The module title is a mouthful: Introduction to Pastoral Theology and Preaching. My instinct is that an introduction to preaching should come later in a three year course than the first semester, but that's just me. My 'revelatory' moments are few in this module - sorry! Keeping them short and sweet, we have:
  • Tracing the Pastoral Motif. The Pastoral motif in scripture finds its roots in the OT - analysing these roots was a worthwhile exercise, but we didn't really trace the universality of the motif. Homer uses the appelation 'shepherd of the people' frequently. Apparently, King Hammurabi referred to himself as a 'shepherd'. The pastoral motif is supra-biblical, having a universality over and above Judaism or Christianity. Considering this universality (especially in the context of the Primeval Prologue, the blessing of man and domestic animals, but not wild animals) pastoral theology takes on a wider context, leading to questions of the pastoral role outside, as well as inside, the church.
  • We spent some time looking at postmodern spirituality and gen-Xers. This was helpful: I think that a key part of pastoral theology should be understanding people. We can get some of this from scripture, some from medical science, some from psychologists, sociologists and from our own experience. The attitude that says we just need scripture and that's it to my mind does not tend to lead to integrity in pastoral practice. The thing is - gen-Xers have been superceded by Y-ers/Millenials.

I ought to read (and have been meaning to) Douglas Couplands original Generation X: Tales of an Accelerated Culture and also God and the Generations: Youth, Age and the Church Today from the EA. Perhaps these should be on the reading list!