In a Facebook forum, I’ve started posting quotes from Sara Little’s classic book To Set One’s Heart: Belief and Teaching in the Church, Louisville: John Knox Press, 1983. Sara was Professor of Christian Education at Union Theological Seminary in Richmond, Virginia, and completed her PhD at Yale studying under Richard Niebuhr. Since the Facebook posting is going to bet too lengthy, I thought I’d transfer it over here.
This was a textbook from my Master’s in Religious Education in the mid-80’s and remains very formative for my understandings.
Here are the two quotes posted:
“Ministry is a form of service, a person’s response of gratitute to God’s gracious action and being. Therefore teaching is always done as a responsive activity, it is never a matter of seeking control. What the teacher does is also to seek truth, to risk giving expression to what is percerived, but always in such a manner that the freedom of the student is not obstructd. Neither teacher nor student creates truth, nor is free to flout it. Theirs is a freedom to come to know it, to exercise all powers of intellection and volition and understanding in responding to it.”
“Belief is not the same thing as thought, and believing is not the same thing as thinking. But thought is surely a major component in belief, as belief is in faith. Note that belief is multi-layered, that it has affective (feeling), volitional (willing) and behavioural (acting) components, as well as cognitive (thinking). … Our “belief” is closer to what Spanish philosopher Jose Ortega y Gassett meant with his reference not to “ideas which we have but ideas which we are.” In fact the term “credo”, translated from the creeds as “I believe,” literally means “I set my heart.”
From here, the next part becomes a bit harder to just lift sentences from, so let me summarise as well as quote.Continue Reading