Being a professor is amazing. I am grateful for the opportunity and I am enjoying it so much. Do I miss being in pastoral ministry? Yes. Would I be a pastor again? Absolutely. Am I called to help the next generation of women & men find their way into ministry in the church? Yes!
Since my last post I have had 2 sets of intense conversations about the degree & type distinction – the first centers around the internet and the second relates to 9/11.
We live in a politically turbulent time and many people harken back to the 60’s/1968. This is a 100% valid claim. Many people alluded to the similarities and made a case that our current environment/situation is even worse than it was back then. Those who like to quote that ‘there is nothing new under the sun’ shrug these similarities off by talking about how things are cyclical and how people like to hit the panic button but in the end we figure it out and things just keep on going.
That might all be true. The differences that I want to account for, however, are three-fold:
- the internet
- 24 hour news cycle
- increased cynicism, distrust, and discouragement
The growing disillusionment with the system, the fatigue from the constant barrage or coverage, and the crisis overload of manufactured spectacle causes me to ask …
Is it possible that our political, economic, racial, domestic, foreign, and environmental concerns are not just different in degree from 1968 but are in fact a new type or different kind of crisis?
I at least want to be open to the possibility that we have crossed into a different sort of quagmire and that we don’t want to simple shrug that off with a ‘this happens every generation or so‘ kind of mentality. Which brings me to the second point.
9/11 was a watershed. It just so happens that the readings for all 3 of my classes this week are from the 1990’s. I can not overstate how old they all sounded. It was like they were from a different era. I started pastoring in the 90’s and every time I talk about the changes that I have seen in just those 20 years, people laugh in recognition of how quickly things have moved.
Invariably the nothing new under the sun crowd says that God is still on the throne and that things have been changing since Bible times.
I just want to be open to the possibility that we have crossed into a different era. Between the internet, airline travel, farming practices (industrial agro), constant media, the global war on terror (not a country) and 1,000 other factors … the change is coming not incrementally any more – but exponentially.
Something is definitely different. That can not be questioned. The question is, “is it different in degree only, or is it different in kind?”
I would love to hear your thoughts.