Pastoral Theology: Essentials of Ministry Book Review


Author: Thomas C. Oden
Paperback: 384 pages
Publisher: HarperSanFrancisco; 1st ed edition (May 1, 1983)
Language: English
ISBN: 0060663537

Book Content:

Introduction: What is Pastoral Theology?

I. Becoming a Minister
The Discovery of Pastoral Identity
The Call to Ministry
The Meaning of Ordination
Women in the Pastoral Office

II. The Pastoral Office
Shepherding as Pivotal Analogy
The Offices and Gifts of Ministry

III. What Clergy Do and Why
The Pastor of the Worshipping Community
The Ministry of Eucharist and Baptism
The Ministry of Word Through Preaching
The Teaching Elder
Equipping the Laity for Ministry

IV. Pastoral Counsel
Pastoral Visitation
The Care of Souls
The Work of the Holy Spirit in Comfort, Admonition and Discipline

Pastoral Theology Essentials of Ministry is a "must have" resource for all persons contemplating entering the ministry, those who want to understand the role of pastors more clearly, and those ministers who want to review their role in the light of a systematic reflection on the pastoral office in general.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book, even more than I did his Agenda for Theology. I think he presented his theory of ordained ministry, including a definition of its functions and duties underlying theological principles method, in a succinct and easily understood manner. The whole book is a treasure of resouces for all desiring to increase understanding of this office and what it means to be a pastor. My comments however, are limited to the three chapters that stand out most for me: Women in the Pastoral Office, The Care of Souls and Pastoral Care of the Dying.

Women in ministry will find Oden's favorable position on women performing in pastoral capacities quite enlightening, affirming and Biblically sound. He makes some significant observations that certainly challenge the most intransigent opposition. Most of the controversial discussions over the legitimacy of women in the pastoral ministry arise because of hermeneutical differences. In Pastoral Theology, Oden presents his own hermeneutics as well as the hermeneutics of those who object to women's ordination to the pastoral ministry. He argues in support of women on the basis of the larger Biblical picture; he looks for the general principles found inherent in the flow of Scriptures. He also takes into account the historical and cultural dynamics within which the inspired writer wrote. Implicit in Oden's comments is the notion that the issue of women is not simply or merely academic. It lies at the very heart of our struggle to stand together as brothers and sisters in Christ Jesus.

Oden brilliantly distinguishes pastoral care of souls from other pastoral functions by illuminating its primary focus on individual need and the personal character of the pastor's involvement with the parishioner. His approach is holistic and deeply human.

Though somewhat implied, I wish Oden emphasized more explicitly the need for pastors to have adequate education and psychological qualifications for the task of caring for souls. Certainly with the multi-problematic concerns of people today, with the mental anomalies that grip them tenaciously, does it not seem appropriate that pastors should be intellectually suited and academically prepared for her/his work? The pastor is a "physician of the soul" and just as the physicians today must know far more and practice more expertly to meet people's health need, so likewise, will the physician of the soul.

Finally, Oden's treatment of and recommendation for pastoral care of the dying is extremely informative. He delineates pastoral responsibilities and offers helpful guidelines for counseling with the dying and relating to hospital staff. Any reader who has not thought through the importance of the funeral would do well to study these sections intently for there is some very convincing evidence presented.

This book is a classic and should be in every pastor's personal library. Even though, as with most books, there are specific areas where we are bound to disagree, overall, the information and ideas presented is worth its weight in gold.

Rev. Saundra L. Washington, D.D., is an ordained clergywoman, veteran social worker, and Founder of AMEN Ministries. She is also the author of two coffee table books: Room Beneath the Snow: Poems that Preach and Negative Disturbances: Homilies that Teach which can be reviewed on her site. Her new book, Out of Deep Waters: My Grief Management Workbook, is expected to be available soon.

You are welcome to visit www.clergyservices4u.org">AMEN Ministries: Your Soul's Service Station for spiritual refreshing, soul edification, browse our newly expanded mini shopping mall or review our recommended books you may want to add to your personal library.

Blessings to all!


MORE RESOURCES:
Signature (a Random House website) looks at the many 2018 Golden Globes nominees based on books:

It is officially that time of the year – awards season is upon us. As usual, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association has kicked things off with the announcement of the 2018 Golden Globe Awards nominees. The literary world is represented in this year's lineup with a smattering of great adaptations leading the charge in both film and TV. While the slate of nominees is populated with a few of the marquee titles you'd expect – "Game of Thrones" got it's annual nod, for instance – a few surprises cracked the surface as well. It looks to be another interesting year at the Golden Globes. Let's have a look.

Merriam-Webster's Word of the Year for 2017 is feminism. The word was a top lookup throughout the year, with several spikes that corresponded to various news reports and events.

In an opinion piece in the Irish Times, John Boyne writes:

So I'm going to make a claim now that will probably get me kicked out of the Fraternity of Underappreciated Male Authors (FUMA) and blacklisted from the annual Christmas football game. Here goes:

I think women are better novelists than men.

There, I've said it. While it's obviously an enormous generalisation, it's no more ludicrous than some half-wit proudly claiming never to read books by women. For the record, purporting to love literature while dismissing the work of female writers is like claiming to be passionate about music while refusing to listen to anything but Ed Sheeran. However, I'm going to try to back up my sweeping statement...

The great Simeon Booker, one of the bravest journalists of our time, faced dangers far worse than a petulant president's social media feed. Booker refused to be cowed--and ultimately helped change the nation. His life's work should be a lesson to us all about the power of truth to vanquish evil.

Booker died Sunday at 99. At the height of his career, few could have imagined he would live so long.

As Washington bureau chief for Chicago-based Johnson Publications, publisher of the newsweekly Jet and the monthly magazine Ebony, Booker went to the Deep South to cover the most tumultuous events of the civil rights movement--life-threatening work for an African American journalist.

William H. Gass, a proudly postmodern author who valued form and language more than literary conventions like plot and character and who had a broad influence on other experimental writers of the 1960s, '70s and beyond, died on Wednesday in St. Louis. He was 93. Mr. Gass was widely credited with coining the term "metafiction" to describe writing in which the author is part of the story. He himself was one of the form's foremost practitioners.

Barnes & Noble, which posted a wider loss last quarter and sent its shares tumbling, is scaling back ambitions to become more than a bookseller.

The retailer had hoped that toys, games and other items would shore up its results, especially as Amazon ate away at its traditional business. But its non-book sales have flagged the past two quarters, and now the company is putting its focus back firmly on reading.

Shelf Awareness reports on the growing "Cider Monday" movement by indie booksellers in response to the big online shopping day known as Cyber Monday. In this low key but fun event stores offer their customers "a warm welcome and a cup of delicious cider" to thank them for shopping local.

Dictionary.com's choice for its Word of the Year is "complicit." It says online searches for the word spiked three times this year...

On Saturday, hundreds of booksellers across the USA took part in Indies First and Small Business Saturday, organizing all kinds of in-store activities, offering a range of deals, hosting parties and engaging in the staple of Indies First since the event was founded by Sherman Alexie in 2013: having authors work in their favorite indies as booksellers. Shelf Awareness reports on some of the events.

Meanwhile, in the UK, bookstores celebrated the first inaugural Saturday Sanctuary to "celebrate bookshops as a place of calm and respite from our hectic daily lives."

A New York Times opinion piece by Daniel T. Willingham lays out the argument that American's poor reading skills cannot be blamed on modern technology but on a misunderstanding of how the mind reads - that functional literary is grounded not just in the ability to read words but in having the factual knowledge to put what one is reading into context.

thatware.org ©