Week One, 2011: I'm Gonna Git Me Some Book Larnin'

photo of bookshelves courtesy flickr.comResolution #3:  Pursue Further Education

As some of you may know, I was given an exciting new opportunity this past fall when I was asked to join the staff at our church.  I’m the Director of Christian Education.  I prefer the term “spiritual formation” to “Christian education”, actually, but who quibbles about titles when they’re being given the chance of a lifetime?  So I’ve been at the church part-time since late October, riding a steep learning curve.  This work really has been a dream of mine, and I think it may be a vocation.  But I am, at this point, completely self-taught.  No special training, no seminary or Bible college in my background, no certificate of specialNESS that gives me credibility (any True Stories fans out there?).  I’m not even sure how I got the job, if truth be told, but I’m not going to dig into that too deeply.  All I can say for myself, really, is that I am a constant reader and I know how to spot a good Christian book.  So my thoughts have been shaped by Foster and Wink, Cavanaugh and Nouwen, Lodahl and Grenz, Wright and Hauerwas, to name a few.  And the Bible!  I have to include that because I wrote a post last winter on my decade in spiritual reading, and was mocked at a fundamentalist website for not including the Bible.  Lesson learned, fundies.  I do read the Bible.

image of Julian of Norwich courtesy livingwittily.typepad.com

Julian of Norwich, my favorite female theologian. Sadly, reading five books will not make me like her.

This year, I want to deliberately pursue…what should I call it?  Professional development?  I’m starting simply, by pursuing  a certificate in Theology and Doctrinal Studies through our denomination’s Christian Lay Training program.  I’m guessing, really, that Theology and Doctrinal Studies shouldn’t be in the same sentence as the word “simply”.  But only five books are required for this certificate.  Five!  And I already own three of them!  I don’t think I’m going to feel professionally developed after that, not when the bar is set so low.  Once I’ve completed the Theology and Doctrinal Studies certificate, however, I can apply to Lay Minister Studies.  You can tell that program is supposed to be big stuff, because I can’t even be accepted into it without the approval of my pastor and church board.  Completing that program might qualify as a certificate of specialNESS, might make me feel a bit more qualified to carry my title.

Maybe you detect a hint of sarcasm.  It’s there, but it’s just acting as a defense mechanism against the possibility of failure.  In a perfect world where time and money were no object, I’d be applying to seminary.  I really do want to make a long term commitment to the work of the church, and I want to be equipped for the job.  Perhaps the small steps I’ve outlined above will solidfy my feelings and lead me, eventually, to seminary.  Before I reach retirement age would be a plus, but aside from that, I’m not in a hurry.


About Sharon Autenrieth

Wife, mom to 5, homeschooler, Christian Education Director, idealist, malcontent, follower of Jesus.
This entry was posted in education, Uncategorized and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to Week One, 2011: I'm Gonna Git Me Some Book Larnin'

  1. Sean says:

    The certificate doesn’t secure your specialNESS, but it apparently does substantially increase your effectiveNESS. 😉


  2. HP says:

    I think that most people would just assume that you read the bible. It’s kind of a given, no? 😉


    • Not to the fundies, it isn’t.

      I just revisited the site I referenced and – I never noticed this before – the stuff about my book list is categorized under “apostasy”. That actually brightens my morning.


  3. Wayne Colflesh says:

    Way to go!



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  6. herewegokids says:

    HahahahahaHA!!!! Oh, it brightens MY morning too….a LOT. 😉 You might be my new hero. I (try to) homeschool our 7 children and secretly long to get a theology degree. At the age of 17 after having been dropped off at Bob Jones University by my missionary parents who promptly returned to Brazil, my horizons were less than broad. I started out in nursing, switched to Missions (duh!) and then ended in blaze of hairspray and glory with an associate’s degree in Cosmetology. Blaze a path for me baby, I’m right behind you! 🙂 New blog follower from Kansas.


  7. Pingback: January First: 2011 Resolution Update | Strange Figures

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