Ernest and Bernice Styberg Professor of Worship
I do not separate my identity as an ordained elder in The United Methodist Church from my identity as a theological educator. I came to theological education shaped by and as an extension from ordained parish ministry. This starting point leads me to two claims:
1. Christian ministry requires the formation of minds as well as hearts: As was true of the early Methodist preachers, I am, as a theological educator, a teacher of the faith with others who are called to be teachers of the faith to the benefit of all called to be "church." More, as theologian Marjorie Suchocki has argued, we should not expect a "learned laity" when we do not have a "learned clergy." [Marjorie Suchocki, "A Learned Ministry?" Quarterly Review (Summer 1993) 11.]
2. Theological education is of and for the church. My vocation in theological education engages me, in various ways, directly and indirectly, in determining, interpreting and reinterpreting the church's normative beliefs and practices. I do not teach for my own benefit but for the good of the church. As Geoffrey Wainwright states, "the believer-theologian lives and works within the fellowship of the church, draws sustenance from the church, and seeks to serve the church-which is itself in the service of God, who is himself [sic] in the service of the world, seeking its redemption." [Geoffrey Wainwright, "Theology as Churchly Reflection" in The Vocation of the Theologian, Theodore W. Jennings, ed. (Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1985) 19.]
I am a pastor, therefore a teacher of the faith. I am a teacher of the faith, therefore a teacher in and for the church. Whether I teach liturgy, or music, or spirituality, or any other related topic, I do so with the good of the church in view.