Friday, February 23, 2007

Jesus' Way of Spiritual Formation

There have been many studies done on the andragogy of Jesus (Bruce 1988; Stein 1994; Zuck 1995; Horne and Gunn 1998). While these are excellent studies, they tend to document mainly what Jesus has done in teaching and leading the disciples. “The great objective of Jesus was to bring men to attain his own state of mind. This objective led him to become a teacher, and the difficulty of his task determined his methods, for example, training a few, being reticent, and healing men and women.” (Horne and Gunn 1998, 19).

Most of these studies focus on Jesus dealing with the twelve disciples as individuals rather than as a community. The eleven apostles-disciples and other disciples scattered when Jesus was arrested and crucified. Yet these disciples, when they were given the Great Commission by the resurrected Jesus were able to go into the world to start communities of faith. These studies done on the training of the twelve were viewed through the modern worldview. It was pre-modern at Jesus’ times. Will it be possible to look through postmodern worldview and suggest that Jesus’ training of the twelve were not done individually but as a community? Will it be possible that Jesus’ objective was to create a learning community or organisation for his twelve disciples and others so that they as a community undergo the process of corporate spiritual formation? This is also more in keeping with the Middle Eastern culture they live in where the community was more important than individuals.

In his definition of a learning organisation, Senge writes, “Learning in an organisation means the continual testing of experience, and the transformation of experience into knowledge, accessible to the whole organisation and relevant to its core purpose” (Senge, Cambron-McCabe et al. 2000). Senge’s concept of a learning organisation[1] goes deeper than the traditional schooling model pedagogy. It involves transformational change or metanoia in the leaders and people of the community so that they can become who they are meant to be (Senge, 1990, 13).

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Anonymous blogmaster said...

I do not think you should use secular theories to describe Jesus' training methods.

My pastor said you should read The Training of the Twelve by Bruce.

10:54 PM  
Blogger Alex Tang said...

Hi blogmaster,

I do not believe there is such thing as a 'secular' theories, as "all truth is God's truth".

I have read E.B. Bruce's The Training of the Twelve which is an excellent book on Jesus' teaching method.

4:52 PM  

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