The Teaching Life: Remembering Students (2)

The second entry from Merton’s journal that I want to pass on is his realization that each new generation of students is necessary to keep faith alive and fresh. He reflected on this following his saying of Mass for a new generation….

There is in many of them a peculiar quality of truth that older [ones] have driven out of themselves in days of rigidity and secure right thinking.  May God keep us from being “right thinking” men, who think, that is, with their own police (and since police don’t think, neither do these others), (Journal, December 9, 1962).

With all due respect to police officers who do think, we get the point Merton is making—the point that the passing of time can “dull” the present generation into forgetting the original sense of wonder that drew us into our vocation and into our discipleship in the first place.  We can become more fixed on the preservation of our dogmas than upon the passing of the “life” which the dogmas were originally intended to represent.

As I come to my final week of teaching at Asbury Seminary, I have no greater joy than the thousands of students who, once upon a time, sat in the classes as “new generations” of men and women, poised for service in the Kingdom of God.


About Steve Harper

Dr. Steve Harper is retired seminary professor, who taught for 32 years in the disciplines of Spiritual Formation and Wesley Studies. Author and co-author of 45 books. He is also a retired Elder in The Florida Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church.
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3 Responses to The Teaching Life: Remembering Students (2)

  1. Judith Warren-Brown says:

    Steve+, I am one of the one’s who passed your way. You left an indelible mark upon my life. God bless you and Jeannie in your retirement.

  2. Barry Bahr says:

    I am just one of many to whom the divine spark has been passed on through you. I have been influenced/shaped by you. I pray to continue that. I look forward with anticipation to the next phase of life together. Blessings, Barry Bahr

  3. Cindy Schutz says:

    Thank you Steve for sharing your life/spirit with me some years ago at ATS…and for the privilege of introducing your heart for ministry and mission through this website to others in my life and through the oasis day that my husband and I attend last January. What a blessing you continue to be!

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