|It's not all about books...|
I do not believe that participatory knowing in faith communities is anything exceptionally new. This is what lies behind many generations of Sunday School classes, confirmation, and adult forums. A different kind of learning takes place when you are surrounding by others. But I do believe that participatory knowing takes on an increased level of importance when we are surrounded by information instantaneously. We need to participate in knowing along with others to help make sense of our experience. And in knowing along with others, we are opened up to things we might never have considered if we were sitting alone with a book or in front of a computer screen.
Part of my sense of call is to actively engage people in becoming theologians in their own right and participatory knowing is a huge part of this. I hope to never lead an adult forum, because that sort of top-down pastoral authority is no longer something that works. I would much rather engage people in genuine conversation in an informal setting. This is why I LOVE theology pubs. Also, I do not believe that text studies should be limited to those with a seminary education. Sometimes I wish I could go back to seeing the Bible before I started studying it academically, which is why participatory knowing is important for pastors too.