Saturday, August 12, 2017

How do you change the minds of white supremacists?

"I submit that the ultimate religious question today is no longer the Reformation's "How can I find a gracious God?" It is instead, "How can I find God in my enemy?" What guilt was for Luther, the enemy has become for us: the goad that can drive us to God." (Walter Wink)

Since reading this thesis of Wink's, I've been gnawing at it. He's probably right, though it's not a thesis you can accept all at once. Like God's grace, it may take a lifetime to accept noetically what is already true soteriologically: that God's graciousness precedes our appropriation of it.

Luther found it very hard to accept that God was gracious. He strove to be justified by God, and was finally won over (while reading Romans) to a different way of thinking: that it is God's righteousness that is active in our salvation, not ours. We are made righteous. We do not make ourselves righteous.

Today, very few people are agonizing over Luther's question. They already assume God is gracious, if they think of God much at all.

But the modern world presents other challenges. Sometimes people argue that epistemology (meaning) is the greatest concern of the modern, over against the Reformation concern for salvation. Does my life have a purpose? Does it have meaning? These are supposedly the questions, and they are indeed pressing questions.

But really, if I look at the people around me, and scrutinize myself, it's much more the question Wink asks, that drives us: "How can I find God in my enemy?"

Because the truth is I consider white supremacists my enemy. They have appropriated, manipulated, and distorted the liturgies of the church, the image of God in the human, and in every way possible are attempting to corrupt Christianity in a direction that is of the anti-Christ. White supremacists are my enemy. Which of course then also means that the current president is my enemy also, since he protects and encourages white supremacy.

And since I know this to be true, it's very hard for me to even consider the possibility that the image of God is in them also. But if I'm going to take my own theology seriously (as Wink does), then I must. Because if I deny the image of God in my enemy, then I give in to their theology, which denies the image of God in the millions of people who don't look like them.

Returning to the original question: How can I change the mind of a white supremacist?

It might be that I can't. Change a white supremacist's mind, I mean. Anyone who is overtly a part of a neo-Nazi group or the KKK may be beyond my abilities of persuasion. They are lost.

There are methods, though, ways to go about the changing of hearts and minds. My wisest friends keep reminding me the best way to change someone's mind is empathy.

Well, that's hard. Really hard. Empathy for the KKK? How do I even do that? Well, watching Edward Norton's American History X is one way. When you watch how such cults operate from the inside, you can at least join my colleagues in Charlottesville who were praying for the young boys/men who were mingling with the professional neo-Nazis there, because they are so susceptible to manipulation and influence.

I can also sympathize by recognizing my complicity. White supremacy is a system from which I have benefitted throughout my life, even if I try to repudiate the doctrine. It's in my culture, a grounding fact in my life. So perhaps I can empathize that much, that I share some of the complicity even if I don't proclaim allegiance to the system.

If you are wondering where the church is, where the clergy (especially the historically mainline) are, I can tell you: they were on the front lines, arm in arm with non-violent resisters #blacklivesmatter, surrounding the white supremacists, resisting them with hymns and prayers, offering healing for those injured.

American faith leaders in my denomination and tradition, though still struggling to disentangle our church and theology from racism, has learned some lessons from the co-optation of the church during the Nazi regime, the co-optation of the church by the KKK.

They articulated a counter-vision today over against the vision of the neo-Nazis.

Because faithful Christians in our day know that race in America is THE theological front lines. Race was a crucial issue even in the early church, sorting out who was included (Gentiles, Jews), and remains a hotly contested theological question today, especially in a nation like ours with a legacy of race-based chattel slavery.

Part of the conversation becomes: which ways are most effective in countering white supremacy. Some of the most powerful people in our nation are white supremacists: Steve Bannon, Donald Trump, Jeff Sessions. This fact legitimizes and blesses vocal white supremacist ideology among the more general population.

One response is to fight back. I can understand why some try to change white supremacy by fighting against it, literally and physically. This is how we handle many other contests. Our nation believes in meeting military force with greater military force. So too some believe the way to beat white supremacy is with a stronger and violent response.

By and large, the Christian church has not endorsed this approach. Some of our most effective and powerful leaders have made remarkable changes bending the arc of the world towards justice through non-violent resistance. This was the approach the clergy in Charlottesville took today. They were present, not violent, bearing witness, singing, praying.

It is an icon of sorts: a Unite the Right rally enveloped and surrounded by faithful Christians, especially clergy, simply praying.

Such nonviolent resistance is the opposite of the silent complicity more prevalent in our nation. We need to recognize and confess that although it is the silence of Donald Trump and others failing to speak out against white supremacy and alt-right terrorism that emboldens, it is actually our local and small silences that have provided the fertile ground for such white supremacy to grow and flourish nationally.

So back to empathy... is there a way to find God in our enemy in a way that does not function as tacit complicity? Sometimes, I think when religious language is invoked, what people hear is encouragement to roll over, just accept, do nothing, as if the response to God's grace were passivity (and so inherently also complicity).

I'm not much interested in that. I'm a fighter. So I want to keep appropriate boundaries AND empathize with my enemy. I am called to pray for my enemy. My Lord expects this of me. But prayer can take many forms. I can pray for the defeat of my enemy. I can pray for them to trip and fall. I can pray for their deliverance, for a change of heart.

Even if I listen to the other command, to love my enemies and do good to those who hate me... well... that will take a lifetime to pursue, and I'll never get it right, but by God that's really the only way.

But love does not turn us into quivering masses of availability, amorphous selves with no backbone. No, real love is fierce. It burns to know and be known. It goads us along, because whatever God is, whoever God is, They are found precisely there, in whatever it is we love.

So do I love my hatred of my enemy more than my enemy itself? If I do, will that change anything? No, if I'm going to change the mind of a white supremacist, I'm going to have to love the hell out of them. Which means I'd have to know them, while being tenaciously myself, in God and finding God.

If they're a terrorist, this means I'll be praying they'll go to jail for a very long time. That's still love. I even know from experience that one of the surest places to find God is in jail.

The real prisons are in the minds of those who think they are free.

Tuesday, August 08, 2017

The August Recess | Faithful support of immigration and a robust international affairs budget

It’s now the August recess, a good time for our elected officials to hear from people of faith. If you’re reading this, I know you are committed on some level or another to work for the good of your neighbor, especially those who are marginalized or vulnerable. In order to do that well, you need to think not only about how to help the powerless, but also how to impact and change the minds of the powerful.

So far this year I’ve made a couple of trips to Washington D.C., advocating on biblical and Christian grounds for sustained global poverty relief, humane immigration policies, and robust refugee admission levels.

Some of these meetings have gone remarkably. We discover shared commitments and values. Other meetings are more dispiriting. You meet, take a photo, smile, then discover the politician was hard at work drafting legislation that directly undermines or even attacks the very work in which you are engaged.

Consider Senator Tom Cotton’s dangerous and harmful RAISE Act. Like the equally troubling activism of Attorney General Leslie Rutledge, who has threatened legal action if the Trump administration does not phase out DACA, it appears Cotton’s legislation is designed primarily to score political points. 

If the RAISE Act or the DACA lawsuit are political feints, then I’m calling on Cotton and all politicians to act with greater integrity. Please do not play with the lives of refugees and immigrants to score political points. Instead, say what you mean, and do the moral and right thing. Follow that direct command of Jesus: “But let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No,’ ‘No.’ For whatever is more than these is from the evil one” (Matthew 5:37).

If Cotton’s RAISE Act is not a feint, then it is even more unconscionable, because much of it is basically lifted from resources like FAIR, short for the Federation of American Immigration Reform, which the Southern Poverty Law Center classifies as a hate group (https://www.splcenter.org/fighting-hate/extremist-files/group/federation-american-immigration-reform). It’s intentionally racist policy posing as economic self-interest.

Tom Cotton erroneously believe that lower skilled immigration has a dampening effect on the United States economy, especially wages for working class people. The basic facts stand opposed to this belief. Overall, low-skilled immigration has a net impact on wages closer to zero. Low skilled immigration has a positive impact on the rest of the economy, especially in the long-term (https://mobile.nytimes.com/2017/08/03/us/politics/legal-immigration-jobs-economy.html?emc=edit_th_20170804&nl=todaysheadlines&nlid=41461160&referer). 

Immigrants either perform the undesirable work which opens up business and more jobs for Americans, or they start new businesses that create jobs for Americans (http://insights.som.yale.edu/insights/does-immigration-create-jobs). Immigrants lead to an increase of jobs and a decrease in crime. These are the basic facts, and the fact that Tom Cotton refuses to acknowledge them, or even offers alternative facts, is indication the extent to which he is operating out of ideology rather than reality, serving his own political expediency rather than the needs of his constituents or the best interests of immigrant families.

My own faith community strongly opposes the RAISE Act, which it considers a dangerous and harmful piece of legislation. Linda Hartke, the CEO of Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service, writes, “While everyone agrees that our immigration system is in desperate need of reform, this bill only causes more harm. This piece of legislation would separate hundreds of thousands of family members from their loved ones here in the U.S. and throughout the world. Further, in a rush to score political points, this bill foolishly disregards the countless contributions that refugees and immigrants bring to our state and local economies.”

If we turn to the international affairs budget, here we can find widespread bipartisan and interfaith support, all united against the Trump administration’s budget proposal. Even a politician like Mitch McConnell came out in support of poverty-focused development and humanitarian assistance. A majority of our elected officials know that at a time of rising needs around the world, it is unconscionable to consider the Administration’s proposed budget, which slashes the International Affairs Budget by 32% and within that, humanitarian and development assistance by 44%.

We also know the world stands on the brink of an unprecedented four famines in 2017. In northeast Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan, and Yemen, severe food insecurity currently affects approximately 30 million people, according to humanitarian organization Oxfam, including 10 million who face emergency and famine conditions. At the moment, the world (also) faces a record 65 million refugees globally due to conflict, persecution, and disaster. Millions are in need of humanitarian assistance, and the scale of this crisis continues to outweigh the planned response. At a time of rising needs, any cuts to foreign aid is immoral, short-sighted and costly – both to people in crisis and to the US international standing in the world.

Given that the International Affairs Budget is just $.006 of the federal budget dollar, a country whose religious traditions encourage a tithe is instead giving foreign assistance that amounts to a rounding error rather than a tithe. 

If Tom Cotton values working people, immigrants, and Arkansans, he should do at least the following. First, he should roll back his RAISE Act campaign, and expressly recognize that it caters to the worst kind of xenophobia that energizes some of our national politics. It inaccurately scapegoats immigrants as having a negative impact on our economy, when in fact "40 percent of Fortune 500 businesses were started by immigrants and their children, "many of whom did not speak English or came here as refugees.” (https://www.wired.com/story/raise-act-tech-immigration-policy/).

Second, he would listen to faith voices and immigrant voices in his own state. If he has read this column, he’s heard one faith voice. Local immigration groups say putting a focus on skills and not families isn't a good representation of American values, especially not Northwest Arkansan values. Mireya Reith, Founding Executive Director of  Arkansas United Community Coalition, says, Not only is this bill completely out of line with our economic needs in Arkansas, but also shows that Arkansas has no idea who the immigrants are in this state.” (http://www.nwahomepage.com/news/knwa/immigration-groups-upset-by-potus-support-of-legislation/781706507)

If Senator Cotton wants to lead our nation in a focus on family-values, faith, and economic prosperity, he would find ways to work across the aisle to actually reform our broken immigration system. There are ways, given our wealth and size and gifts, to resettle many more refugees than he is proposing, offer a path to citizenship for many different kinds of immigrants and their families, and provide the kind of poverty-focused aid internationally that benefits our national security interests and brings much needed relief in globally perilous times. Xenophobic policies appeal instead to the selfish side of our nature, rather than the generosity of faith, spirit and purpose that makes our nation great. 

Thursday, July 27, 2017

troll theology | our bigot in chief | keep your eyes on the pearl

So let's be really clear. The president of the United States of America is trolling the American public, distracting us (quite successfully) by blowing a very loud dog whistle.

His goal: displace headlines on the collapse of the ACA repeal and collusion with Russia.

His dog whistles: transphobia, the culture war, anti-government propaganda, and religion.

If it were pure politics, I might not enter the fray. But this kind of politics gets up into my space, the space of religious faith. It also uses messaging about a community I love (the queer community) as a tool.

When you use bigoted language for your own power purposes, you are yourself a bigot. Pure and simple.

What we now know is that the tweets Trump threw up the equivalent of pyrotechnic chaff. They're either a profound misunderstanding, or an actual lie. But they're posted as a tool of distraction.

Trump wrote in a series of three tweets,
"After consultation with my Generals and military experts, please be advised that the United States Government will not accept or allow transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the U.S. Military. Our military must be focused on decisive and overwhelming victory and cannot be burdened with the tremendous medical costs and disruption that transgender in the military would entail."
This precipitated a statement from chairman of the Joint Chief of Staff,
"There will be no modifications to the current policy [on service of transgender people in our military] until the President's direction has been received by the Secretary of Defense and the Secretary has issued implementation guidance. In the meantime, we will continue to treat all of our personnel with respect. As importantly, given the current fight and the challenges we face, we will all remain focused on accomplishing our assigned missions."
See how this works? The military has no current plans to make any changes to policies around transgender personnel, but the president posted three long tweets about it, and all hell broke loose.

Which then makes you wonder... after a dog whistle on transgender, what's the next topic.

Of course, the answer is religion.


Just as many of our largest Christian organizations in the United States make sure they publicly express exclusion of the transgender community in order to maintain their base, so too Trump knows that after the culture war, the biggest focus of his base is "God" as they understand it.

In other words, Donald Trump has learned from the Christians their two main goals: worship God, and hate on queer people.

It has been good to see many religious organizations go public immediately after Trump's bigoted tweet, expressing support for the transgender community. It's essential. One of the best came from the UCC:

The United Church of Christ and the Open and Affirming Coalition stand today with our transgender members, neighbors, friends and family throughout this country.
This morning, President Trump imposed a total ban on service by transgender Americans in the United States Armed Forces. The action was announced less than 24 hours after the Texas Senate voted to bar transgender people from public bathrooms that conform to their gender identity.
Our transgender neighbors live in a climate of fear. Transgender women of color are dying on the streets of our cities, and 30 states fail to provide any legal protection for transgender citizens from discrimination in housing, employment or public services. The President has now banned transgender Americans from military service “in any capacity,” including more than 15,000 who are currently serving their country on active or reserve duty.
Discrimination in any form violates our values as followers of Jesus Christ and as Americans who believe in liberty and justice for all. Transgender citizens in uniform have proven time and again their dedication to this country. They deserve our support and respect.
In 2003, General Synod affirmed “the participation and ministry of transgender people” in the United Church of Christ and pledged support for “their civil and human rights.” Acting on this resolution, the UCC’s national officers and the Open and Affirming Coalition urge congregations and other settings of our church to stand publicly with our transgender members and neighbors in this urgent time, and whenever and wherever their dignity as human beings and their basic rights as citizens are threatened.
Together, we strongly affirm the work of United Church of Christ chaplains in the armed forces, who are faithfully serving our transgender neighbors in uniform. Their ministry is needed now more than ever.
/signed/
The Rev. John C. Dorhauer
General Minister and President
United Church of Christ
The Rev. Mak Kneebone
President
Open and Affirming Coalition of the United Church of Christ
I wish my own denomination, the ELCA, had a public statement up already, but alas, they do not. A major ELCA affiliated ministry, Reconciling Works, does have something up, though, which is good.

They write, "ReconcilingWorks’ celebration of the 750th Reconciling in Christ (RIC) community comes in the midst of this morning’s announcement to discriminate against transgender people by banning them from serving in the military. As transphobia increases at the local, state, and federal level, your faith community’s voice is needed to speak a truth of love and inclusion. It is holy work for Lutheran communities to make a public commitment to see, name, and care for LGBTQIA+ people and their families."

When the leader of the free world trolls the American people, abusing the trans community in the process and flashing the "worship God" card to justify it, communities of faith find themselves in a difficult spot. They of course need to directly respond to the messaging itself, and express in very clear ways their continuing love and support of communities who contribute so much to our shared life and faith.

They also need to keep their eyes on the prize. Religion is here dredged up for a completely nefarious purpose: distraction from real and legitimate issues. While we talk about Trump's tweets, the Republicans are eviscerating health care coverage.

Providing quality health care for all people is a moral imperative. It's our responsibility. Christians of good faith need to be at the front lines of the conversation, not with libertarian agendas assuming each person for themselves, but rather with a kingdom ethic of shalom for all.

We are called in a moment like this, as much as we are being trolled, to love and protect and stand with those who experience collateral damage from the trolling, and then also keep your eyes on the prize, which is health care for all, and the maintenance of the integrity of our democratic system.

Religion (in my tradition anyway) isn't there as a tool for bigotry. It's not a rigid structure that enforces discrimination. It's there as a calling back to the ethics of Jesus, and the vision of the kingdom he articulated.

Matthew 13:44-46: "The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which someone found and hid; then in their joy they go and sell all that they have and buys that field. "Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls; on finding one pearl of great value, they went and sold all that they had and bought it.

Saturday, July 22, 2017

What's a pastor to do? | APEST, Vocation, Alan Hirsch, 5Q

“In its simplest form, 5Q is the synergy of a holistic recombination of the apostolic, pro­phetic, evangelistic, shepherding, and teaching (APEST) capacities referred to in Ephesians 4.” (5Q: Reactivating the Original Intelligence and Capacity of the Body of Christ)
Vocation vs. APEST

I cut my teeth as a theologian among people for whom the doctrine of the priesthood of all believers was sacrosanct. Luther had famously observed that priests and monks had stolen the holiness of the many vocations of the people of God, requisitioning it all to themselves. In his bid to redistribute the holiness of the Christian vocations, he literally emptied holy orders of their holiness, and maintained that the daily vocations of the average Christian were themselves more holy than any vow or priestly act: changing diapers, cleaning shop, making chairs.

The great irony of this theological insight, one of the wondrous rediscoveries of the Reformation: it resulted in a reconsolidation of ecclesial power in the hands of the clergy. By and large, although many churches and denominations have spread authority more widely, and have at times even divested themselves of a professionalized clergy altogether (think the Quakers), by and large Christians of the Protestant variety still locate most of the ecclesial capacities for church leadership in the role of pastor itself.

What Ephesians 4 imagines as diverse giftings (apostolic, prophetic, evangelistic, shepherding, and teaching), most churches imagine as located in one person--the pastor--or a group of leaders--the pastoral staff.

Of course, it's more complicated than this. Some of the laity identify these giftings in themselves and actualize them. Some clergy believe they do not have all five of the gifts, and focus on the ones they do have.

But nevertheless, the separation remains: there are clergy, and there are laity, and an altar rail divides them.

This is something Alan Hirsch laments. As one of our most gifted missional thinkers (missional: literally, considering mission in its ecclesial dimensions), Hirsch has expounded in considerable detail why a failure to celebrate the missional DNA latent in every Christian community results in an atrophying of the full capacity of the body of Christ.

How did the priesthood of all believers revert to a priesthood of priests?

I tend to think this is largely a sociological phenomenon. Organizations prefer to have leaders. Businesses have CEOs. Schools have principals. Cities have governors. Teams have coaches. The church has pastors.

So theologically, though we are committed to and believe that the gifts of the Holy Spirit are distributed throughout the entire body (think 1 Corinthians 12), in practice we still look to the head of any organization for "all the goods."

Furthermore, and this is where I part ways with Alan, even the APEST itself is still a set of giftings focused on church leadership. For example, he argues “ministry is the birthright of the entire Body of Christ—including all of God’s people—and not something limited to the roles of the so-called clergy” (109), but ministry is still "just" ministry, the aspects of people's lives related to furthering the work of the church and the message of the gospel.

But the average person, all those members of the body of Christ, the people of God, live lives that extend far beyond the beautiful proclamation of the gospel, receiving the gospel but not necessarily responsible directly for its perpetuation. So an APEST test, though intriguing, won't be of interest to wide cross-sections of the people of God whose primary vocation isn't even in the church to begin with.

I agree with Alan's focused disruption of a hyper-focusing of the ministerial gifts in just one person--the pastor. He writes in an appendix about the exiling of the APEs (the apostles, prophets, and evangelists). As someone whose primary giftings are in the apostolic, prophetic, and evangelistic, but who is anticipated to focus especially on the shepherding and teaching, I get it--it's simply too much to expect that the Holy Spirit would place on just me, or just one pastor, all five gifts. We can do much better in the church celebrating the breadth of these giftings, and we have movements seeking to do so (in the ELCA, a reclaiming of ministries of word & service in partnership with word & sacrament is one such example).

There's one other gap here, worth naming. A significant gift in the body of Christ focuses around "diaconal" ministry, and ministry of healing. I do not find this anywhere in Hirsch's APEST. As a result, APEST shifts us back (unintentionally, I think) into more antiquated and "gendered" ways of thinking about church leadership. I'd like to see him work on this issue more.

Is there just one key to Scripture and ecclesiology?

But the gifts Hirsch analyzes are not the key to the whole of Scripture, or the complete solution for a robust ecclesiology. To see if you agree with me, test this out. Read this list:

  • Apostle: Mobilizing people toward action and pioneering new missional frontiers
  • Prophet: Helping everyone hear and know truth, and creating a depth and integrity of culture
  • Evangelist: Encouraging and equipping people to share, and speaking/sharing the gospel
  • Shepherd: Loving others into fullness of life, and demonstrating the love of God to those who don’t know him
  • Teacher: Creating depth and maturity in the word of God, and creating access points to truth and for truth to be expressed to those that don’t know God”

Now, ask yourself, can every Christian in a faith community find themselves under one of those five categories? Should they? I'd answer no to both questions. My wider sense of Christian vocation includes many callings in daily life that are not directly related to any of these per se as primary callings.

Would most Christians benefit from a review of these categories, and a process for cultivating the gifts in their lives, and their communities of faith? Yes. Is this the key to everything? Well, I'm suspect of any proposal that purports to be the key to everything.

Nevertheless, I express deep thankfulness for Hirsch's calling the church back to its missional impulse. It's quite a burden, most days, for pastors like myself to walk around expecting ourselves to be able to operationalize all five of the APEST gifts, and hubris to assume they don't exist as latent capacities among many more in our communities of faith.

Similarly, it can be very empowering for communities of faith to seek, find, and strengthen such gifts among a wider set of people in the body of Christ.

I am particularly taken with Hirsch's challenge to develop methods whereby communities of faith can  hone practices/capacities in line with APEST. We need the people of God to know who are the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds, and the teachers, and what to expect out of them. That we mostly don't is indeed one reason why the church is lamentably less robust than it might otherwise be.

As a Lutheran committed to the concept of vocation, I simply can't give up on the notion that there is even more there there than APEST itself. It's a Christian calling to clean windows, design electric cars, write novels. These do not need to fit under APEST in order for them to be Christian, and indeed Scriptural. Hirsch's 5Q, properly situated in a broader vocational hermeneutic, can perform the admirable function of diversifying the special role of leadership among the priesthood of all believers. The spirit-hood of all believers, if you will.





Broadly defined, APEST is as follows (Alan asks us to mark this page, so I quote it here):

  • The apostle/apostolic: In Greek, the term apostle literally means “sent one.” As the name itself suggests, it is the quintessentially missional (from missio, the Latin equivalent) ministry. Interestingly the French translation of the term apostle (envoy) picks up this sense of commission much better than the English transliteration—an apostle is an envoy. It is very much a pioneering function of the church, the capacity to extend Christianity as a healthy, integrated, innovative, reproducing movement, ever-expanding into new cultures. It is also a custodial ministry … a guardianship. This ministry is therefore also profoundly interested in the ongoing integrity of the core ideas (DNA, organizational principles, or meta-ideas) that generate and maintain systemic health across the organization.
  • The prophet/prophetic is the function tasked with maintaining an abid­ing loyalty and faithfulness to God above all. Essentially, prophets are guardians of the covenant relationship that God has with his people. The prophetic is also passionately concerned with living a life morally consistent with the covenant—a simple and authentic life of justice, holiness, and righteousness. The prophet proclaims God’s holiness and calls for a corresponding holiness in his covenanted people (1 Peter 1:16).
  • The evangelist/evangelistic involves the proclamation of the good news that is at the core of the church’s message. Evangelism is therefore all about the core message and its reception in the hearts of people and cultures. As such, the evangelist is the storyteller, the all-important recruiter to the cause, the naturally infectious person who is able to enlist people into what God is doing in and through the church.
  • The shepherd/shepherding is the function and calling responsible for maintaining and developing healthy community and enriching relationships. This involves a commitment to form a saintly people, nurture spiritual maturity, maintain communal health, defend the community against breakdown, and engender loving community among the redeemed family of God.
  • The teacher/teaching is concerned with the mediation and appropriation of wisdom and understanding. This is the naturally philosophical type that brings comprehensive understanding of the revelation bequeathed to the church. It is a guiding and discerning function. In the biblical tradition, emphasis falls on wisdom and not simply on speculative philosophy. Teaching, of course, also involves integrating the intellectual and spiritual treasure of the community and encoding it, in order to pass it on to others and to the next generations (paradosis, or tradition). (pages 62-63)

You can take a 5Q Test here.