The Asian Forum for Christian Educators 2013 (AFCE 2013) is a bi-annual event organized by a small group of noted Christian Educators passionate about coming alongside to encourage improvements and reformation in seminary education. AGST Alliance students were encouraged to add two days to their study program and catch the spirit of what the forum was all about and to take away principles and ideas that could be of help to them in their respective settings. This was one forum that stuck to its guns: a real forum ( a meeting for the open discussion of subjects of common interest). The guest from a seminary from N. Ireland, Dr Graham Cheesman, spoke for about 30 minutes to lay the foundation; and for the rest of the two days, 39 participants were ably facilitated through the main theme: “ Space, relationships and learning: a critical matrix for theological education?” Even meal times were called “foruming around the meal table”. They discussed some weighty stuff about contextualization and culture etc. but here are some sound bytes I picked up during the various discussions:
Be the guide by the side rather than the sage on the stage.
If you do not feed the poor, you will construct a theology without a concern for feeding the poor.
I love ideas and I love people and I love to bring the two together.
We can open space for others in our lives only after our internal space has been transformed.
We need to move towards an unseminary culture, and we can do that only after we have named our world.
It is vision that guides our decision-making and changes.
Truth without relationships of trust becomes a threat.
Shut up and let the students reflect and contribute.
Theology must be clothed in personal experience.
Being gentle with ourselves is part of the fruit of the Spirit.
Faculty and pastors have to aim at holistic spiritual formation.
Jesus not only used culture to communicate truth; he also transformed it as he did so.