Seeing, Hearing, and Conceiving
9 That is what the Scriptures mean when they say, “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love him.”[d] 10 But[e] it was to us that God revealed these things by his Spirit. For his Spirit searches out everything and shows us God’s deep secrets. 1 Corinthians 2:9-10 (NLT)
The Leadership and Global Perspectives doctorate of ministry has been the paramount experience of the last year in my life. Far beyond what I hoped to see, hear and be able to conceive, have been the effects of this program on my heart, soul, and mind. Three words encapsulate my experience best—expansion, accuracy, and passion.
First, from the readings, reflections, writings and dialogs, my heart has experienced expansion. My love for God has increased. The primary way in which this has happened is through being able to see a broader composition of our world. The experience of Cape Town was life changing and already the preparations for Hong Kong are beginning to transform. The exposure to the social sciences through such books as Elliot’s Contemporary Social Theory, Pink’s Doing Visual Ethnography and Doing Sensory Ethnography, and Anderson’s Imagined Communities have added numerous layers and connectedness to the world I see, hear, and concieve. The world is made up of individuals that produce culture and form society and society forms culture and produces the individual. Understanding God and His work (theology) accompanied by the study of the relationships of the individual, culture and society (sociology) has expanded my capacity to love God and give myself to his redemptive work in our world.
Beyond the expansion of my heart lies the increase in accuracy of my mind. I have gained significant insight on topics such as Capitalism, Evangelicalism, Consumerism, Nationalism, and Eastern and Western thought and culture, all helping to develop a more precise and truthful worldview. I am now not as limited to broad generalizations when thinking, writing and speaking about such topics. Being exposed to the works of such names as Zygmunt Bauman, Karl Polanyi, D.W. Bebbington, and Max Webber has recolored my picture of the world. The personal growth captured through my leadership development plan, in great part developed through the weekly blog postings and asynchronous chats, has developed a stronger confidence in voicing views and ideas in my current ministry role and context as well as helped inform the research I hope to delve into in the coming semesters remaining in the program. My mind has been sharpened and I am grateful to be able to imagine new vivid horizons ahead.
The ultimate compliment to the expansion of heart and a more accurate mind has been amplified passion in my soul. I have had fears of a doctoral program destroying my faith. I have been timid when approaching some of the topics and new boundaries approached through the LPG5, concerned that my belief might be deconstructed into despair; where cynicism becomes a new discipline of daily life. My greatest surprise on this journey has been the fresh faith produced and a greater belief and passion to see God’s Kingdom come and His will be done. My seeing, hearing and conceiving vision of possibility for God’s will and way has never been higher. The emphasis on leadership in the pursuit of seeing a better world has been the exact punctuation needed in this doctorate program. Through all the diverse topics covered, the insertion and thread of leadership that has come, has given an outlet to attend and consider much of the shift and transformation taking place in heart and mind. Having the various academic advisors, a part of the Campfire chats, as well as the introductions to the works of Hunter, Nohria and Khurana, and De Pree, have allowed the lofty stretch of the soul to find a landing place in leadership. Not only was my soul stretched, it was impassioned as God has taken me to knew heights in my life and ministry. Through LGP5 my soul is more passionate today for God’s work in our world and my life and ministry are full of faith and belief.
Paul wrote of such experiences in the book of Ephesians. While I do not think Paul had LGP5 on his mind when writing this verse, I do believe it was in God’s mind. And when any band of Christ-followers come together and devote, commit, and dedicate their hearts, souls, and minds to seeing, hearing, and conceiving all things anew…I once again believe God will be faithful to deliver and surpass all expectations.
16 I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 18 may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, 19 and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. Ephesians 3:16-19 (NIV)
 Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright© 1996, 2004, 2007, 2013 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.