What’s in a name? Shakespeare prompted us to think with the words of Juliet,
Solomon noted, “A good name is rather to be chosen than great riches.”
You Had a Podcast?
Over the summer I resurrected the podcast with a different emphasis. Up to that point I generally offered some reflections on one or more of the texts from the Revised Common Lectionary. Our program of preaching at Snow Hill has followed the RCL for several years. Yes, it is odd for Baptists, even more Southern Baptists.The aim was to remind ourselves of the story of God, the story of people, and the story of the world. This put us in conversation with a larger Christian community, something that would keep us from tribalizing to the degree we could not appreciate others.
Other pastors who utilize the RCL and those who participate in worship at Snow Hill served as the audience. I admit it was fun and challenging to mashup the provided texts from week to week.
After a hiatus from that particular emphasis, I was struck by a number of people I believed needed to be heard by a wider audience. Some were younger, others were not. My aim was to get their voices heard, even if it was a small number of people who subscribed via iTunes, Stitcher or listened in here at the blog.
While those interviews scratched the itch to help others come in contact with ideas and people they had not heard, I still had a nagging that the focus was too scattershot. I reached the end of my scheduled guests and rather than continue with my list of 20 or so others, I decided to stop and re-evalute.
Then David Fitch.
An Old Desire Re-kindled
On other posts I have noted my Dad’s influence. In short, I learned a lot from watching and listening even when I did not understand exactly what we were doing. Most of the time my job was official Flashlight Holder or Tool Retriever. We repaired electrical wiring projects, fixed plumbing leaks, and changed break pads, a day when disc breaks had not been dominant. Yes, I am older than you think.
We roofed houses, built an addition to our home, and tried to repair just about a anything before calling a professional. My interest in how things work and fit together, how things come apart and are reassembled, stem from those formative moments lying under the house looking up at plumbing lines or in the frigid cold trying to get our the well at our cabin to work so we would having running water for a brief vacation.
Education became more than a goal. It scratched the itch created by the time spent learning about the nuts and bolts of life and the things we use to enjoy it.
When I gave in to the call to ministry in high school, I determined that I would learn all I could. Over the years I developed a personal mantra, “Leaders are learners.” For me to stop learning is to cease to lead. I earned a B.A., M.Div., and a D.Min.
The years between my M.Div and the D.Min were required. Had it not been a school requirement, I would have plodded right on. My mentor influenced my decision to choose the D.Min. rather than Ph.D. My sense was the church would be the place I would spend my time, not the academy. In those days the D.Min. was set up much like PhD seminars but the end result was something acute for the local church rather than the academy. Do not misunderstand me here. I do not in any way think those who go on to earn PhD’s have nothing to offer the church. I simply knew that my time would be spent in the local church and not teaching in college or seminary, though I do find that intriguing. At my age, a PhD would mean time away from my grands and well, I believe I can keep learning in other ways and benefit from my friends who do or are working toward their PhD.
Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, twice my alma mater for theological education, offered Scholar’s In Ministry Week. Those with terminal degrees, many of us surely terminal, were invited for a week of learning to keep abreast of trends, issues, and scholarship important to the life of the pastor and academics alike. The event was like a breath of fresh air. And with a regime change it died.
When I finished my D.Min (93), I queried the D.Min office to see if they would consider putting together a reading list from the upcoming seminars offered in the program. I suggested many of us would be glad to pay a clerical fee for the photocopying of the bibliographies from each seminar’s syllabus. They were not interested and this was well before the Internet could have provided an easier means to do this.
But my itch still longed to be scratched.
From that point I would look around for particular conferences were the subjects were new to me, where the participants were different than me, and where I might engage others for the benefit of my work as a pastor.
Recently David Fitch offered some thoughts in response to an article in Christianity Today. When I mentioned this to an online friend become friend in real time and real life, he mentioned an article by Kevin Vanhoozer. Kevin offers and interview where he talks about the necessity of pastor-theologians. Immediately I knew how to re-focus the podcast in a way that would be more succinct in its goal and broad in its scope.
There will be more occasions to flesh this out a bit more. But for now, I want to get to the point. “Good,” you say.
I am working on revising the podcast for the Pastor-Theologian. Fitch argues this is what is needed today. David has agreed to come on the podcast and we will talk about what he has in mind and how it would benefit churches in our post-Christendom era, even in what some consider post-post-modern.
Here is how you can help. I need a name for the new podcast. And in order to entice you to participate, I will give away a couple of books to the one who submits the chosen title. The winner will receive a copy of David Fitch’s, The End of Evangelicalism: Discerning a New Faithfulness for Mission, Phil Snider’s, Preaching After God: Derrida, Caputo, and the Language of Postmodern Homiletics, Tripp Fuller’s, Jesus: Lord, Liar, Lunatic or Freaking Awesome.r These are not books that fall in line with the 21 Irrefutable Laws on Leadership. These books will push you, anger you, inspire your imagination, and if you don’t like them, you may return them.
So, what is your suggestion? The contest will be open until Thanksgiving Day as I will be thankful for the time you take to help me think about a good name for this podcast. But, in the end, it is the content and character of the podcast that will matter, the name is for remembering where to tune in.
Leave you suggestion in the comments.