DMINLGP

DMin, Leadership and Global Perspectives: Crafting Ministry in an Interconnected World

Free Your Mind

Written by: on January 24, 2020

The other day, I was just in the gym getting ready to work out, and I walked up to a conversation between two people, and one turned to me and said, “explain to her the difference between North Carolina and South Carolina.” Without hesitation, I knew what she was inferring that South Carolina people are country, aka less educated then North Carolina. This perception of the “South” is widely known, and growing up in a low-income family system, the chief goal of education was graduating high school. Somehow, we knew that higher education was a key to getting out of the ghetto. By God’s grace, the opportunity came to me, and my life was/is still being entirely changed by challenging my mind to be expanded in theological knowledge and all knowledge.

In my stream of faith, the general assumptions are that as long as you have the Holy Spirit, you got all you need. While this statement is genuine, it is not complete because what is meant is that you do not need to study anything else; if you just read your bible, pray, and obey. A lot of my friends still today, do not see the importance or connection to pursuing a Dmin for ministry because it adds no value to their ministry (but then ironically, they call/text me a lot for answers to things). I do believe one of the reasons our tribe is almost anti-intellectual still is because they see the power (emotions and experiential learning) being taken away. The University of Notre Dame Historian Mark Noll in his sequential books The Scandal of The Evangelical Mind and Jesus Christ in the Life and Mind does challenge us to put aside these emotional responses less we stay captive to the “urgencies of the moment[1]

In particular, Jesus Christ in The Life and Mind anchors all theological matters and study in the creeds, and from here, Noll lays out a framework of four stances in which to approach human learning.

 

Doubleness: Through the incarnation, Christ is presented as fully human and fully divine. Our human reason tends to fight the tension of this “doubleness,” but it is at the very center of our faith. “if the center of human history has [this character], why not at least some of the peripheries?”[2]

Contingency: Most of the scripture and most of Christology derived not from an abstract philosophical or speculative approach to truth, but from experiencing what God actually did in the world. In the same way that we know God best through experiencing what God has actually done, we should learn about the natural world primarily by empirical study.

Particularity: “Because God revealed himself most clearly in a particular set of circumstances and at a particular time and place, every other particular set of cultural circumstances takes on a fresh potential importance”[3] The birth of Christ was a local event with universal learning. Other particular events merit serious study because they too can be broadly meaningful.

Self-denial: Academics can tend to become full of pride because of knowledge and staying humble in Christ is the key to self-denial.

 

Noll says, “if what we claim about Jesus Christ is true, then evangelicals should be among the most active, most serious, and most open-minded advocates of general human learning[4] I agree with this statement. As part of my research what I’m seeing is that church leaders are quick to try and learn the newest technique to “grow” there church but need to learn how to grow people and that may take a lot more time and study outside of the closed mind of give me my bible and leave all other books on the shelf.

————

[1].” Mark Noll, Jesus Christ and the Life of the Mind, (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Eerdmans, 2011), 243.

[2] Ibid., 48.

[3] Ibid., 55.

[4].” Ibid., x

 

About the Author

Mario Hood

Most importantly, I am married to the love of my life, Misty Hood, and I'm kept on my toes all day every day, by my son Dalen and daughter Cola Hood. I also serve as the Next Generation Pastor at Church On The Living Edge in Orlando, Florida, under the leadership of Senior Pastor, Dr. Mark Chironna as well as being a Youth and Family Life coach.

12 responses to “Free Your Mind”

  1. mm Tammy Dunahoo says:

    Mario, I am so grateful for your example and now for your research. It is a critical need in the Charismatic/Pentecostal world. We must address the fears and laziness of the Church in this regard. We have such dualistic thinking we fail to be the salt and light we are called to be as representatives of a holistic God whose mission is wholeness.

  2. mm Harry Fritzenschaft says:

    Mario,
    Thanks again per Noll, for exercising the labor to put down roots in Christian scholarship rather than simply in Christian heritage. While we all appreciate how God has nurtured us from where we started, we don’t want to check-out and miss out on what God is doing beyond us. I am excited about your research and your leadership because I agree growing people is much more complex and requires much more scholarship than growing attendance. Thanks again.

  3. mm Mary Mims says:

    Mario, I agree with being taught the best way to get out of the ghetto is through higher education. I thank you for encouraging others to advance in their studies in your stream of faith. Thank God for your example of those who believe.

  4. mm Rev Jacob Bolton says:

    Great post and awesome introduction about discussions happening “at the gym.” You sir are a scholar who can flex both his biceps and his mind.

  5. Mario, I so much identify with your experience and the big difference that education has made in my life. Education has afforded me great exposure that makes me a better minster with greater influence, even beyond my local culture. I dream and I am already doing ministry in other cultures/countries because education has empowered me.

  6. mm Karen Rouggly says:

    I appreciated your perspective, Mario. Thanks for sharing it. I agree that education is seen as a golden ticket, but I think there is so much beyond the brain that comes with education. What I see in you is a confidence that comes from not just your brain, but a recognized understanding of who you are and what God has called you to! Well done!

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