My Blog: Connecting

I’ve been a student (through the text) of Parker Palmer for years. Scottie May introduced me to his book when I took a class on teaching and learning at Wheaton.

The book, To Know As We Are Known, was my first encounter with Palmer’s thinking. His work is foundational to the educational theory I’m developing for clinical pastoral education. He talks about prayer as a relational act. He nods to the explicit spiritual power of prayer. His subtitle is Education as a Spiritual Journey. Still, he lifts prayer as an act that can connect us to others.

It isn’t a religious act as he sees it but a relational one. Education is the same. We can relate to people and to ourselves in the learning environment.

Consider how you’ll connect to others today. What will be your prayers? The ones you utter and the ones you mutter. My sense is that we pray a lot more than we think, and in that prayerfulness may be the roots of what’s needed to relate to others.

Something I’m Thinking About

Photo Thanks to Tim Swaan

Photo Thanks to Tim Swaan

As I see one semester end (at seminary) and one unit end (in CPE) and one year end (at the church), I’m reading over a book that will likely find its way into one of my theory papers. It’s a book Dr. Scottie May introduced me to in grad school.

Parker Palmer is such a helpful teacher and guide. Here’s a taste about education but that can be said of preaching, speaking, parenting, and any other way of learning/educating:

If you want to understand our controlling conception of knowledge, do not ask for our best epistemological theories. Instead, observe the way we teach and look for the theory of knowledge implicit in those practices. That is the epistemology our students learn–no matter what our best contemporary theories may have to say.

…If this is the case, then as a teacher I can no longer take the easy way out, insisting that I am only responsible for conveying the facts of sociology or theology or whatever the subject may be. Instead, I must take responsibility for my mediator role, for the way my mode of teaching exerts a slow but steady formulative pressure on my students’ sense of self and world. I teach more than a body of knowledge or a set of skills. I teach a mode of relationship between the knower and the known, a way of being in the world. That way, reinforced in course after course, will remain with my students long after the facts have faded from their minds.

(From To Know As We Are Known, pg. 29, 30)