Pastoral Theology: Essentials of Ministry Book Review
Author: Thomas C. Oden
Paperback: 384 pages
Publisher: HarperSanFrancisco; 1st ed edition (May 1, 1983)
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
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!
The term "thought provoking" is over-used but that does describe eighth grader Melissa Shang's opinion piece in the New York Times in which she asks why "there are very few stories about kids in wheelchairs, and there are even fewer with a disabled person who is cheerful and happy." Her powerful article questions why "disability is always seen as a misfortune, and disabled characters are simply opportunities to demonstrate the kindness of the able-bodied protagonists."
Tracy K. Smith has been named the 22nd poet laureate of the United States. Smith's poetry has won her such top awards in her field as the James Laughlin Award, an Academy of American Poets Fellowship, and, for her 2011 collection Life on Mars, the Pulitzer Prize.
For many years, the publishing industry's major annual event, BookExpo, was aimed at publishing insiders only. A few years ago, organizers ReedPOP, started experimenting with allowing in more readers, which morphed into a separate one-day event in 2014 called BookCon which immediately followed BookExpo. In 2015, BookCon moved to two days; then in 2016 back to one day.
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On Monday, the Nobel Foundation released Bob Dylan's lecture (which he gave just shy of the 6 month deadline in order to receive the award and cash prize of US$900,000. In his 27 minute speech, Dylan explored the topic that was on many people's minds when he was announced as the winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature, can song lyrics be literature?
"The speech is extraordinary and, as one might expect, eloquent," Sara Danius, the Swedish Academy's permanent secretary, wrote in a blog post. "Now that the Lecture has been delivered, the Dylan adventure is coming to a close."
Listen to the speech
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Denis Johnson, the prize-winning fiction writer, poet and playwright best known for his surreal and transcendent story collection "Jesus' Son," has died at age 67.
Jean Fritz, an award-winning writer whose work helped transform historical biographies for children from leaden recitals of battles and dates into warm, human narratives full of quirks and crotchets and satisfyingly strange facts, died on Sunday at her home in Sleepy Hollow, N.Y. She was 101.
The author of more than four dozen books, Mrs. Fritz was known in particular for her biographies of many of the signal figures of 18th- and 19th-century American history.
America's libraries got a major boost this week on Capitol Hill as a group of leading publishing, information, software, and other businesses unveiled an organized effort to advocate for federal library funding. The move comes in response to the Trump administration's proposal to eliminate virtually all federal library funding, and the agency that distributes those funds to all 50 states.