Starting with Bonhoeffer's lectures (Looking forward to the Works version as part of the Finkenwalde Collection, St John's copy is very well thumbed):
Spiritual Care (pastoral care as taught at St John's) should involve an open Bible and Prayer. This is before, during and after all pastoral care. Reading Bonhoeffer's lectures the priority he places on Pastoral Care is that people should be confronted with Jesus, as this is the only way people will be set free and have life in its fullness. Which is why prayer is so important! For all the times I open my mouth and share the good news there are times when I don't find words adequate (I am thinking of Hospital Chaplaincy as a recent experience of this). So what I intend to take away from Bonhoeffer is:
- Setting out in Prayer, being in Prayer and ending in Prayer
- Having an open Bible
- Bringing people/situations to Jesus (not quite sure how to word this bit)
But theological work does not merely begin with prayer and is not merely accompanied by it; in its totality it is peculiar and characteristic of theology that it can be performed only in the act of prayer (K. Barth, Evangelical Theology).
My father in law lent me Evangelical Theology and I really enjoyed it, parts of it reminded me of A little excercise for young theologians by Helmut Thielicke. Once I am back at college I will quote the window and skylight illustration which I think applies also to intercession. I have a book budget currently (which I hopelessly overspend on) so once the summer comes I will purchase my own copy of it.
Finally I had a conversation at the Bonhoeffer Conference with Prof Bernd Wannenwetsch (University of Oxford), we were discussing confrontation that we are not meant to be confrontational in our pastoral endeavours but at times we will need to confront and this needs discernment. The situation we discussed was Paul's letter to the Corinthians (He is writing a commentary on it) as a pastoral letter, which probably wasn't the first one written to the Corinthians, was it written because no one had confronted them at an earlier point which now led to the situation being so out of hand?
So to all the above in prayer we need to ask for discernement:
To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to be build up;A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.(Ecc. 3.1-8 [KJV])
From Barth and Bonhoeffer I want to become a prayerful reflective pastor with an open Bible and an open heart and mind to discern what it is He is saying in each encounter, that people may meet with Jesus.