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The Next Faithful Step

Week 2

CF565: Empowering the People of God


The goal for the week is to get you ready to write your own response to a situation of longing or loss.  We will do this by giving you a case study (so that you have a particular situation in mind) and then providing a series of resources about interpretation. This week we will spend more time discussing the process of making spiritual sense of a situation. In coming weeks, we will simply provide you with resources so that you can practice making sense for yourself.


Before looking forward to this week's work, let's look back at what we discussed in the first week that the class met.

      1. Leadership Begins with Listening
        If you have not yet taken the class survey, please do so now.  It should have been emailed to you.
      2. Cultivated Instincts: The goal of this course is to teach you a way of seeing the world and talking to people that probably does not come naturally to you yet.  But if you practice, it will become as instinctive as driving.
      3. Sample Reflection: Here is a sample of one way (not the only way) to respond to the case study called "Sam's Retirement" {Please note that the sample is like the assignments you will turn in because it includes both the paper and the 'Guide for Grading.'}
      4. 3 Ways to Lead (PDF)

Case Study For This Week: Michael Win

      1. Read the case study and (even before you do this week's reading) try to write down some ideas for how you might respond
      2. When you have completed the week's reading, go back and work through the guide again to construct a response.
      3. Assignment:
        1. Due by 2am on Tuesday morning January 15 in an email to your TA
        2. Write up a one-page, single-spaced response that weaves together Michael's story with the biblical story to create a shared story of future hope.  {If you go slightly over a page, it's not a problem}
        3. Fill in the Grading Sheet for the response
        4. Email the paper and the Grading Sheet in a single computer file to your TA

The Best Christian Leaders Transform The Ways That We See The World

      1. Making Spiritual Sense
        1. "From the earliest biblical times, God has called leaders to speak in God's name to God's People."
        2. "Christian leadership is fundamentally an act of theological interpretation."
        3. "The best leaders change the way we see the world."
      2. Transforming Mental Models
        "The essence of Christian leadership is to transform people's mental models so that God's People use Christian categories to make sense of their lives."
      3. The Meaning-Making Leader: Jesus and the Sermon on the Mount
        1. Change people's expectations
        2. Draw from a different repertoire of cultural resources
        3. Weave these resources together using a narrative structure
        4. Make sure that a clear set of expectations is the natural consequence of the story-shaped interpretation
        5. Whenever possible, tap into pre-legitimated pathways
        6. Sometimes a leader must legitimate fresh expectations
        7. The goal is to enable people to internalize the new expectations and interpretations
        8. Even Jesus cannot control the meaning that people make.

Mental Models Create Expectations

      1. Espoused Theory
        1. We make sense of our own actions by filtering them through the lens of our espoused theory.
        2. The alternative to "espoused theory" is "theory-in-use."
      2. Expectations Shape What We See
        • Learning as "filtering"
      3. Fail People's Expectations
        1. "We are often judged by other people's expectations."
        2. "We have to fail people's expectations at a rate they can stand."

We Transmit Hope Through Stories

      1. A Shared Story of Future Hope
        1. "People are transformed when they participate in a story."
        2. "…imagine their way to change."
        3. "Listening to old stories with new ears."
      2. Stories Shape Religious Identity
        1. Communal Narratives
        2. Personal Stories
      3. Stories Form People
        e.g. The Good Samaritan
      4. "Loud Wrong": How Stories Instruct without Insulting
      5. Trapped Within a Story
      6. Model: "Dawn Lee, Elizabeth, and Esther"

Learning About Stories

      1. Pixar's Storytelling Process
        This article is an interview with Michael Arndt, the screenwriter for Toy Story 3. The writer went on to write screenplays for Hunger Games: Catching Fire and the Summer 2013 Tom Cruise movie Oblivion. And he has been commissioned to write Star Wars: Episode VII. This interview describes the process that Pixar uses in creating stories. And it gives specific examples of how Arndt thought about what we are calling "longings and losses" as he constructed the story. The interviewer is a man named Adam Sutton and the story was posted on a website called Red Letter Studios.
      2. How to Tell a Story
        This process will help you work on the stories you will weave into your "shared stories of future hope"

Theological And Biblical Perspectives

      1. "God the Giver"  Read the first chapter of Miroslav Volf's book called Free of Charge, especially the section on "God the Santa Claus" (this is one of the book's on the class syllabus)
      2. Biblical Themes: Exile
        1. "Conversations among Exiles" by Walter Brueggemann
        2. "Preaching as Sub-version" by Walter Brueggeman
          This article is available for free to any Fuller student. But you have to do a little computer magic to get it.  And if you run out of time this week, this is the lowest priority reading of any this week. To get the article, go to the following web address and log in using your Fuller ID. You will find a link to the PDF version of the article on the left-hand side of the screen. The link is:

        3. John Goldingay, ***** <fill this in when the videos come in>
        4. David Rohrer, The Chosen Exiles Collection
          This collection of three reflections illustrates how a parish pastor might use a passage like First Peter to reflect on his own situation.

          1. "From Rocky to Living Stone: Growing into our Pastoral Identity"
          2. "Conferring a Name: Giving Witness to the Spiritual Identity of a Congregation"
          3. "From Text to Sermon: Learning a Pastoral Hermeneutic"

Look Back At The "Michael Win" Case Study

    1. What mental models is Michael using to make sense of his situation?
      1. For example, how does he think about God and about how God leads people?  (If you want a model for talking about how people "think about God," use Miroslav Volf's chapter on "God the Giver")
      2. Or, how does Michael see the relationship between his work and his faith?
    2. What new mental models might you offer Michael?
      1. Are there places in Scripture where God's People lived between two worlds?
      2. What ideas did people in Scripture use to make sense of their lives?
    3. One example of a way that people in Scripture lived between two worlds is the concept of exile.
      1. In the Old Testament, how did prophets make sense of the exile?
      2. In the New Testament, how did Christian leaders use the concept of exile to make sense of their lives under Roman rule? (Consider, for example, First Peter)
      3. How do modern day leaders (like David Rohrer or Walter Brueggemann) use concepts like exile to describe life in our world?
    4. As you compose a one-page response to Michael, start by listing any stories or biblical examples/phrases that you think might address Michael's situation.
      1. Is there a way to mix and match the stories and the biblical ideas to create a consistent message?
      2. Can you list the "punchline" or meaning of your stories? What do you want your listener to repeat when they hear your story?
    5. Write an outline for your response before you try writing a draft of your response.
    6. When you have completed your rough draft, go back and fill out the Grading Sheet
    7. Be sure to include the completed Grading Sheet when email your paper to your TA