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The Importance of Impracticality

I came across an article today by J. D. Walt called “Pragmatic Impracticality: An Open Letter on Seminary Education.”  Walt is Dean of the Chapel and VP for Community Life at Asbury Theological Seminary.  Here’s an excerpt:

How does this happen? It begins with a commitment to being impractical. Forget grades and resumes because ultimately they will not matter. Avoid studying subjects that can be learned in weekend continuing education seminars. Present yourself as a living sacrifice on the altar of the Almighty to be shaped by the Word and filled by the Spirit. Embrace Greek and Hebrew exegesis with the ludicrous idea you may one day be called on to make a translation of the Bible. Approach Bible study assignments as quests for buried treasure rather than the indiscriminate and hurried deadline-driven digging. Extract the rich grounds from Bengel’s sage dictum, “Apply the whole of yourself to the text; apply the whole of the text to yourself.” Confront each course with at least one question that penetrates the superficiality of the syllabus, lest you arrive at the end with a pile of notes and a series of responses to someone else’s questions. Allow yourself to soak in the ancient depths of theological truth. Engage the literary roundtable dialogue of the Communion of Saints. Take contemplative walks, permitting yourself the luxury of wide open spaces with the Father. Proclaim a season of prayer and fasting, inviting the Spirit to cut new channels of grace through the hardened bedrock of your innermost being. Resist the temptation to be practical. If for only a few years, master the discipline of impracticality.

The whole thing is worth a read.

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