Dear Mr Andrews
I just want to say that I appreciate you website and twitter account. I had looked on it in the past but only in recent months took more attention to it.
I am after some advice if at all possible. I pastor a small church in England, and also work full-time. I studied a BA in Theology at an independent college. I would like to further my education, but mainly due to time and finances am unable to enrol with a college, university or seminary institute.
Studying myself seems to be my current and only available option. I have seen you list of fantastic resources on iTunes. My only issue with that is my discipline!
Would you have any advice on to structure a self taught study?
I hope you don’t mind me asking!
Thank you very much for your kind and encouraging words! I’m glad to have some followers over in the UK and I hope, together, we can make an impact over there.
You are correct about the iTunes options. For those who may not be familiar:
- How to Get a Theological Education Through iTunes
The former lists all the institutions that record their lectures on iTunes for free and the latter is a list of the podcasts I listen to most of the time with some [hopefully] helpful comments on each. I’m always listening to a podcast. I rarely ever listen to music anymore. Certain moods and physical conditions (i.e. sick) determine certain types of music. However, when I’m driving around town, cleaning the house, walking through the parking lot or down the street I’m always listening to a podcast on philosophy, theology, or science. If a lack of discipline is the vice here then I think this will be the first step for you to get in the groove of self-study. All the materials I’ve linked in these two posts are great resources that will allow you to learn vast quantities of information.
A second option is to partner up with someone who is theologically, philosophically, and even scientifically like-minded with you in that you both desire to know more. This will help keep the topics in regular discussion. You said you’re a pastor: are there other pastors you can meet with to help here? I imagine it’s scarce over there in England.
A third option is the hardest one, and that’s reading the books in the spare time. What usually drives my research is my ignorance about something. I have a burning question or I know that I really need to learn these things, X, Y, and Z so I devote the most of my present research to those issues. When I was completing my BS in Religion I was also studying philosophy on the side. I did that by listening to podcasts and reading relevant books that helped answer the questions I had, and I plugged in with a philosophy professor of mine.
So, I think the first and easiest thing is to get a bunch of podcast programs syncing with your phone/device/computer and listen to these things while you’re doing other things. (Also, check out my resources page for more information/videos to get you started.) This will inevitably gain your interest and you’ll start spending more time doing it and wanting to learn about it. For instance, something may come up that you disagree with. What you’ll want to do is find out for yourself and get up and do a bit of research or exegesis to see what you come up with. This will start building habits and will turn your discipline around in favor of researching and learning.
I hope I’ve helped. I wish I could say more to help you out. I’ll be moving to Edinburgh next August and I know I’ll be down in England quite often. We’ll have to be sure to meet up when I’m there!