I read this post recently from the Logos Bible Software Blog, “Life at Seminary: Inspiration and Advice”:

What’s your favorite part of seminary?

Jason: The conversations that happen after class, both with peers and with professors. You hear that lecture that stirs you up and makes you think about your faith and God in completely new ways. Then you talk about it. It’s awesome to be surrounded by godly people who also want to digest God’s Word and think biblically.

My guess is that many seminary students (and graduates) would identify those kinds of conversations as the favourite (and most memorable) part of seminary. I got wondering how to bring that meaning-making activity effectively into the seminary classroom, whether physical or virtual. John Dewey wrote in 1933,

To grasp the meaning of a thing, an event, or a situation is to see it in its relations to other things: to see how it operates or functions, what consequences follow from it, what causes it, what uses it can be put to. In contrast, what we have called the brute thing, the thing without meaning to us, is something whose relations are not grasped.

It seems to me that deliberate instructional design should shape this essential activity and not a chance encounter. Now to make it happen.

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