Yes, the Seth Mokitimi Seminary got me thinking about certain dynamics of education. The fear of being ‘institutionalized’ versus the ‘independent spirit.’ It no doubt has its roots in my own fear of being boxed into things I am not. I heard Lawrence Anthony speak yesterday in Howick. He wrote “Babylon Zoo” and the “Elephant whisperer.” His one comment was, “Why do we like to think out of the box? Isn’t it better to be out of the box?” So here are some more unboxed thoughts on the subject of Seminarian’s in training.
Yesterday I touched on seminarian life being born rather out of ‘Presence’ versus ‘Vision.’ This may tie in with the difference between being ‘Driven’ versus being ‘Called’. The ancient image of the shepherd and the butcher comes to mind. The butcher is behind the flock pushing them and the shepherd is leading them from the front. The latter shows a different attitude in the sheep. The sheep are happy to be in the presence of the Shepherd, who calls them by name and thus they follow even if they don’t know where. The former part of the illustration the sheep are disquieted and are being driven by forces unknown to places they don’t know. In both cases the myopic sheep are unaware of their destination but their temperament is different.
I think this is another model for ‘presence’ in seminarian education. The art of helping seminarians (what a word?) hear their names called rather than be driven and packaged into the ‘perfect’ seminarian. I have a feeling SMMS will help this process more than our previous models of education.