In HOPE

  In HOPE 5.26                                  back to home                        David Timms

Ministry Resource

A useful resource for anyone who is involved in teaching is Parker Palmer's "The Courage To Teach: Exploring the Inner Landscape of a Teacher's Life", Jossey-Bass, 1998. Palmer is insightful and helpful as he analyzes the teaching ministry ... and the important inner world of the teacher. 

HOPE Happenings

Next week, the University hosts our accrediting body, the Western Association of Schools and Colleges. A team will be here from Wednesday to Friday, reviewing the progress of the University over the past couple of years, which has been enormous.

 

 

 

 

Hope International University
Fullerton, CA 92831

 

The will of God is a field, not a tight-rope.   


Human Machinery

We pierce our souls - turning life into mere existence - when we see people primarily as commodities. The culture around us constantly diminishes humanity, and everyday language is a good indicator.

In the business world we no longer have "personnel" but "human resources." We reduce living and loving beings, to the status of breathing machines. As Eugene Peterson notes: "In our present culture all of us find that we are studied, named, and treated as functions and things."

We "network" with each other. Isn't that a computer term for how machines hook together to work more efficiently?

Everyone is a potential "buyer" for what I sell; "student" for what I teach; "member" for the church I lead; "recruit" for the ministry that is shorthanded; or "resource" for a task that needs to be done.

"Spiritual gifts" are faddish in our day - as never before in human history - because they undergird our contemporary emphasis on usefulness and functionality. We measure a person's value by their capacity to perform. People exist, it seems, to fulfill a higher purpose - usually numerical, architectural, or monetary in nature. And in such a utilitarian environment, we feel pressured to make a "spiritual contribution." We fit in, we're told, because of a role we play or a ministry we do.

Could anything be more counter-gospel?

Our language reflects the glaring de-personalization of our age. Because so many of us struggle with meaningful relationships, we trade the effort for something more "manageable" and seemingly "safe." Consequently, we treat each other more as commodities than companions.

We take pride in terms like "driven" and "task-oriented" and have attached inordinate honor to the word "achiever" - so much so that "achiever" has preferred status over "lover" or "friend."

When we view people from this mechanistic mindset, we trade away the essence of life itself. When production, doing, achieving, and organizing is the essence of our lives then love becomes either an inconvenience or a plain nuisance (in marriage, family, church, or workplace).

As long as results trump relationships, we embrace the cultural shift from human beings to human machinery. And in the process, we deny the most fundamental reality of our humanity; that we are made in the image of God; the Lover, the Friend, the Relational One.

Jesus rarely seemed to be hurried or harried. He stopped counting at 12, and never called the disciples His team members. He called them friends - and lived like it. It was well with His soul. May that be true for us, too.

In HOPE -

David

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David Timms serves in the Graduate Ministry Department at Hope International University in Fullerton, California. "In HOPE", however, is not an official publication of the University and the views expressed are not necessarily those of the Administrators or Board of the institution. "In HOPE" has been a regular e-publication since January, 2001.

For back issues of In HOPE, see http://www.hiu.edu/inhope/