I haven’t been blogging much because I’m focusing most of my extra energy towards some research and writing for a paper I’m going to submit and hopefully present at the Society of Vineyard Scholars’ annual meeting (April 26-28 in Minneapolis, MN). This year’s theme is on The Kingdom and Ecclesiology.

It’s been awhile since I had to write a serious paper, so I’m making sure to dot my T’s and cross my I’s… wait. Uh oh.

One of the fascinating differences from writing seminary papers to writing as a practitioner (pastor) is related to how I take more time for reflection. When I think back my undergrad and graduate training, I think of one word: deadlines. Those deadlines caused me to bang out readings and papers in order to pass grades. Less time was spent reflecting on what I was reading and really engaging it. That’s changed a lot in the last few years. The papers I’ve written and the presentations I’ve taken a part of were more fruitful for my mind than probably for those who suffered through the presentations.

I hope the same happens after this paper is completed.

For those interested, I’m exploring how a Vineyard Center-set approach to ecclesiology should understand the role of “boundaries,” specifically in relation to church membership and church discipline. Whether I’ll succeed past simply surveying the issue remains to be seen, as I have not gotten far enough into the paper to really engage that subject. Interestingly, I have nine pages completed, which means I’ll be doing some cutting before this is all said and done.

Having not attended this meeting before and unsure of the specific audience, I’m just “going for it.” I hear that the audience is a mixed group… biblical scholars, theologians, sociologists, anthropologists, pastors, etc. (Vineyard is diverse!). So exactly what “level” to write at is difficult to determine. Oh well… I pray it serves the church and glorifies God!

How important do you believe personal reflection should play a role in theological interaction? Do you agree or disagree that seminary (and culture) seems to rush the process?

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