Note: please see post below on recent blog problems. I hope to have them resolved soon 🙂
I graduated last Friday night with my Doctor of Ministry degree from Abilene Christian University. The photo to your left of me looking like an odd, monk creature was taken by Emily on her mobile phone when we ran into each other in the hallway of Moody Coliseum right before the ceremony. There are a few higher-quality pictures that I'll post soon.
The whole event was special for a number of reasons. My parents drove out from California. My wonderful mother-in-law and father-in-law were there. And, of course, Em and the girls were there. It was just a really special occasion. Dr. Jack Reese "hooded" me. It was also the first graduation ceremony led by ACU's new president, Phil Schubert. I will always be thankful to my committee–David Wray, Jeff Childers, and Charles Siburt, and to ACU, for which my appreciation grows daily.
Now, it's done.
At the rehearsal before the ceremony, a young man receiving his Masters in Conflict Resolution asked me why I had decided to pursue the degree. Good question. For me, it's always been about learning, and about trying to be a better minister. There are many ways to do this, of course, but education is a good one. I find that when I'm learning, I feel energized and refreshed. The marketplace of ideas is a marvelous place to sharpen the sword, and I will continue to learn in new ways. However, I want whatever learning I engage in to go somewhere. Perhaps knowledge has intrinsic worth. However, knowledge is best when it aims somewhere. My aim is the church.
One of the things that has troubled me over the years is the weight that some churches and "powers that be" place on formal education. If one doesn't have at least a Masters degree, in some circles, he or she isn't as "smart" or capable as those who have completed such degrees. I don't believe that. However, at the same time I believe in learning, growing, and the formation the education process provides. Thus, I would encourage everyone in ministry to keep nurturing the life of the mind…in whatever form it takes.
What's next? I've got some ideas. A blog redesign is underway and may be completed by the end of the week. I've been working on a couple of writing projects and would like to finish those. I have some new ideas for writings, etc. that I'd like to explore. I might enjoy teaching a class here or there. Mostly, I just want to practice ministry with the passion and excellence God enables.