Living into Contradiction
By Charles "Kim" Anderson, 12/3/2013
I am a contradiction!
For example, I hate some mornings to get out and jog my daily route in
my neighborhood, but often the days that I have the hardest time getting out
are the days I have the best run. I love
books, the touch and feel of a good book in my lap while I read is a particular
joy, and yet more and more of my library is being stored on my Kindle now. Breakfast in the morning isn’t complete
unless I’ve been able to read a part of the newspaper, but lately most of my
newspaper reading is being done online.
These shouldn’t be big pronouncements on my part. It’s the way the world is changing.
After 35+ years, Fuller Northwest is making a change to move
the way the rest of the world is changing and we’ll be giving up our quarterly
printed and mailed newsletter in exchange for an online version. Published media is doing more than just
moving in the direction of online sourcing.
It has moved into the neighborhood and set up house! I would suspect that giving up the paper copy
for online version is just the first of many changes that we will witness in
the next few years as social media and the ease of application technology
change the way we manage ourselves. When
Fuller first started offering online classes about a decade ago, there weren’t
many who were interested in breaking away from the traditional classroom
experience. Now, many people prefer
online courses to the traditional classroom and flock to classes taught by their
favorite online professors. Change is
inevitable and it brings with it a certain amount of joy and sorrow, apprehension
Fuller is well on its way to another kind of change that
will also impact students and inevitably the church. Within Fuller’s history, the next two years
will probably see the most significant curricular change that it has ever
experienced. Both the School of Theology
M.Div. and the MAT Degrees will be going through significant change. In fall 2014, the 120-unit M.Div. will
launch. It not only is a shorter degree
over its predecessor, the 144 -nit M.Div., but it is also structured very
differently. There will be much more
emphasis on integration and contextualization in equipping students for the ministries
they will face. For example, students in
the M.Div. will be spending time in classes learning how to engage culture and
local contexts rather than spending time in traditional ministry courses that
give a broad overview of all types of ministry that one may or may not use in
one’s ministry career.
In a luncheon meeting with some local pastors a few weeks
ago, a common refrain that was heard was how ill equipped some felt regarding
pastoring in a neighborhood church where the neighborhood had changed
significantly. The congregation and
pastor, in such situations, feel isolated because unless they modify their
programming significantly, they won’t adequately be offering the neighbors and
neighborhood what they want and need.
Change is inevitable and it brings with it a certain amount of joy and
sorrow, apprehension and relief.
I’m lamenting the change of the M.Div. because it’s a degree
and curriculum that I know and love, however, it brings me joy that Fuller has
taken the courageous step to offer a new curriculum that will help pastors
shape the church of the future. There
is a little apprehension in offering new curriculum but relief that so many
faculty are already excited about the challenges they will face and conquer in
delivering the new curriculum in meaningful ways.
We suddenly have a new curriculum that’s coming, a new
building and campus for the Northwest, a new Institute, a new President. One would think that things couldn’t get
anymore exciting, and then something changes and it does. I can live with that contradiction because
with change there is progress.