Monday, March 9, 2009

Duty of Minister/Missionary

I (Kevin) am in a class called Personal Transformation. It has been an amazing class, full of learning. We are currently reading a book about the anatomy of the brain and how its design for relationships is what spurs transformation.

This has great implications for ministers and missionaries. We have three brains that process data, and though they are interconnected, they work autonomously as well. While our culture often praises the Neo-cortex for its cognitive ability, it is the limbic brain that actually forms long-lasting transformation through emotional understanding.

What does this mean? It means for ministers that we can preach doctrine (statements) until we are blue in the face, but without the positive emotional attachment (please do not read emotionalism) to faith, doctrine has very little impact. That means the minister and missionary must share life in relationship with the people they minister to. Our limbic brains formulate emotional bonds almost telepathically, and these emotional bonds, while influenced by doctrine (statements) are formed through relationship.

The book talks about the "therapist" as one who must enter into the sphere of the patient, that it is limbic restructuring that provides emotional healing. This model works for formal therapy or for ministry. The minister/missionary must be willing to enter into life with the one being ministered to. This in evitably means that the minister/missionary will be the one ministered to as well, because there will be a mutual limbic exchange.

We learned through an anthropological exercise while I was in Portland, that positive limbic resonance cannot happen where superiority is involved. An easy example is ministering to (read "with") a homeless person, while not as a homeless person. Superiority makes it easy to minister to a homeless person, but horrible to be ministered to BY a homeless person. However eliminating this dichotomy and entering into a learning relationship allows then for actual, mutual ministry to take place.

When we take a look over our scripture we find God who makes statements (10 Commandments) but really enters into a transformative process with the people. He walks with Adam and Eve; he speaks directly to the Patriarchs; he comes as a cloud and pillar of fire to the wandering Israelites; he is encapsulated in the arc of the covenant. God makes himself known through the prophets and the angels.

In the New Testament God appeals to the limbic brains he created in us by becoming human, actually walking with us, not in a method of superiority, but in service. While we like to think of Jesus as the suffering servant, he allowed himself to be ministered to also. There was a mutual exchange limbically. He then left us the Spirit, who has relationship with us not in such an imperical knowledge (5 senses), but we can recognize the Spirit by our trust and experience.

Christ also gave us the equipped disciples to be physical representations of him. They made disciples and so forth and so on. We are part of the limbic resonance that effects transformation within our Christian community and without.

If the Church is to be an effective body effecting transformation, and a superiority complex effects limbic resonance between people, how then must the church view itself?

No comments: