Waiapu Diocesan Theologian

September 1, 2009

Let’s Hear It From Waiapu!

Filed under: Starting Points — howardpilgrim @ 10:10 am

A funny thing happened on this new blog over the last couple of weeks. On each Thursday I put a notice in our diocesan “E-News” circular inviting its readers  to visit this new blog and leave a comment.  A hyperlink in the text made it easy to get here. The response was immediate: visits logged on the first Thursday were triple my previous daily high, and almost as good the second Thursday.  Waiapu people had started reading my blog, and some of them even said so when we met. Written comments, on the other hand, were lousy. More exactly, non-existent.

So far, mine has been the only voice on this blog from from within the diocese – or it was until I suggested to our bishop David Rice that he should set an example. We now have his blessing for all to see ( as the first comment on my previous post) and as imprimaturs go this one is not to be sniffed at. However, what I really want is a discussion about where theological education should go in our diocese, and elsewhere, rather than a pat on the back. So come on in, the rest of Waiapu, follow your bishop, the water’s fine!

Making a comment is actually unbelievably easy. Just click on the Leave a Comment heading box below and type your thoughts into the Comments box that appears. When you have finished click on the Submit Comment button. If you are anxious that you might lose what you have written, then compose your comment in your favourite word processor and cut and paste it into the Comments box when you are happy with what you have written. If you fill out your name and email address that will make for even better communication, but I have just changed the setting that made this compulsory – if you read Edward’s comment on the previous post you will see why! Your comment will then come past me (to weed out spam) and I will make to sure to welcome it and give a considered response as a further comment in reply.  Others can then add their thoughts on what you have to say. A public conversation, get it?

Here are some important questions, any one of which might start you off.

What place should theological education have in the life of this diocese?

Is it important to have theologically literate clergy … let alone lay people?

If you have done some theological study, what topics did you find most helpful?

Are there some things you have learned which you would like more opportunities to share with others?

What is your preferred method of study – distance education, short courses, small groups for reading and discussion, self-directed learning, or something else?

What resources would you like the diocese to provide to help you in your theological journey?

Alternatively, you can still go back to any of my previous postings and make a comment there.

Now go on, be brave, write something …



  1. Hi Dad,

    I would advise that most people will be cautious about commenting. A blog is after all a public forum, recorded for prosperity by the ‘Google’. Just like a public speaker on a soap box, many will listen, and nod there heads, but few will openly engage the speaker. The normal few will be hecklers, or people attacking the most provocative of statements.

    Finding ones tongue on such personal topic as religion, and in a open format will take time. People also tend to find it easier to comment in regards to your opinion/stance. So with regards to that instead of directly asking of for answers, you could present an internal mono-log/debate of the ideas, what you see as the pro/cons of these same questions, then people may feel more inclined to pick/defend angles that are true for them, or offer new angles.

    Any as a non-Waiapu person I’ll take a shot at your questions:

    – What place should theological education have in the life of this diocese?

    As a non-theologically educated person, what does that bring to the diocese? How can I know if I need the service of the educated, unless they tell me what benefits this brings to the table. If I was educated I’d know what I could bring, but then you’ll only have a opinion of the few, and there is a tendency for those that have jumped a gap to state the gap is needed, as a form of self-protection. Thus the importance of licensing by so many professions, is sold as public protection, but is normally done to protect the workers from a fold of cheap upstarts, who of course would not be as “good”. Thus the onus is on you to tell us what you bring, and us to decide if that what we need, and weather you deliver on those promises.

    – Is it important to have theologically literate clergy … let alone lay people?

    Is it important for politician to be trained of Law or History? One could argue that without both we are doomed to repeat past errors, yet is there a element again of self serving. Did politicians accept the recent round of pay increases, even though current financial climate might dictate otherwise.

    The later questions appear directed at those already on the path of education, and therefore non-applicable.

    Comment by Simeon — September 2, 2009 @ 10:43 am

  2. Some fathers do have them! Thanks for your comment Simeon, because it raises a really good point – it is up to those of us who have undergone (or even just begun) a theological education to sell its benefits to those who haven’t, or at least describe what they may be missing out on.

    Being your father has several consequences.
    1. I am very proud of your independence and mature thoughtfulness.
    2. I would love you to inherit my passion for theology.
    3. I may be the wrong person to persuade you about this matter: I would much rather someone else, one of those watching this blog without commenting, came forward to offer their own reasons for valuing theological study, hint hint.

    Now there – if you and I can conduct a family discussion in this public space, it can’t be too risky for others to add a comment, can it?

    Comment by howardpilgrim — September 2, 2009 @ 12:14 pm

  3. While I’m interested in the answers I ask for, I am more interested in acting as a catalyst in the way you blog. Or who you think/communicate with in this medium.

    Also I am not personally feeling the need to be persuaded, just asking the questions I feel other persons ‘the lurkers’ may be thinking, and having not asked, or thinking to question you.

    Whereas you are my father, I naturally question things you say. Not out of disrespect, but more as a personal comprehension, as I feel you have always taught me to not be a sheep and just do. This is very much so on the religion side of thinking.

    As I have said in the past, I think this questioning the assumptions, and having contentment in the answers, or faith when answers are thin on substance, is the definition of religion to me. Not the act of Sunday church.

    Now if this considered and thinking method is what the ‘educated’ bring, then those are some fine selling points in my book, to my earlier questions.

    Comment by Simeon — September 7, 2009 @ 7:59 pm

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