A quick comment on pedagogy.   I’m enjoying how Bolger draws the class in by discussion but also by repetition.  He has us going over the material in a variety of ways that I think place the information deeper in us as well as give us the opportunity to interact with a variety of perspectives on what we are hearing.   (I think my sentences are just getting longer and more convoluted the more time I’m in grad school.)  It is good to get to engage and respond to the class by blogging, but we also review sections by discussing them in small groups.  This is what my Jewish studies prof would have called “hevruta.”   I’m enjoying the process.

Warning: If church leadership structures or models of the church don’t interest you.  Read no further.

As for what stuck out to me this last class, the winner is “leadership forms of the 1st century church.”  I was especially struck by the idea that there was not a dominant structure and that roles as deacons, elders and bishops didn’t really solidify until the 2nd century.  Why did I find administrative structures so fascinating?  Well, I liked the idea that forms melded to their cultural contexts to a certain degree.  I also liked the idea that leadership was more familial and less hierarchical.  That appeals to me.  It also interested me as I have observed the leadership structures of younger and older church traditions.  Non-denominational churches are more like the 1st century church in their kind of loose and figuring it out mode.  Older denominations are more akin to 2nd century church and beyond who have tightened up and regularized their systems.  Non-denominational world can be pretty fluid and flexible when it comes to leadership structures.  This seems to make it both open to healthy adaptation and change as well as open to making more mistakes.  Older denominations seem to be rather inflexible at times, but they have great accountability built in and may be less prone to making immature mistakes.