Serendipity strikes again, just as I was wondering how to push further with the conversation about ministerial formation in a local church context, the new copy of Teaching Theology and Religion
arrives, with an article by Thomas Esselman, of Aquinas Institute of Theology "The Pedagogy of the Online Wisdom Community: Forming Church Ministers in a Digital Age".
That's what I mean, wisdom communities
Wisdom is critical thinking in a faithful context. The biblical wisdom tradition submitted current theology and practice to the test, but it also kept firm hold on faith and even on the tradition it was examining. Wisdom is never an individual property, it grows in and through community. Biblical Wisdom reflected the understanding, experience and knowledge of the clan as well as exploring the critical ideas of great minds...
That's what ministry formation needs. It's what seminaries have been trying to create. It's just that the attempt is somewhat wrongheaded. (Despite the great achievements of many seminaries and the wonderfully wise people they have [sometimes/quite often?] trained.) It's wrongheaded because by being cut off from the local church setting - and seminaries are cut off, even though all their members are individually part of local congregations. What happens is that the critical side of wisdom gets privileged over the faithful. (Except where the reverse happens and the seminary gives up on it's role as conscience and critic...)
Now I know Thomas Esselman didn't invent the term, it seems to have been first used by Bridget Puzon back in 1997, though even that may be wrong, it may (for all I know at this point) be a traditional term in Catholic androgogy... The point (for this blog) is that I discovered it through Thomas' article, and the concept just fits what I have been thinking...