Thomas Estes Presented at the National Association of Baptist Professors of Religion
Thomas Estes, Instructor of Ministry and Director of Ministerial Guidance in the Logsdon School of Theology in the Cynthia Ann Parker College of Liberal Arts, delivered a paper at the annual meeting of the National Association of Baptist Professors of Religion.
Held in conjunction this year with the annual meeting of The Association of Ministry Guidance Professionals, the NABPR met at Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee from May 23-25, 2022.
The paper delivered by Estes was entitled “The Romance of Theological Education in the Baptist Tradition.”
“I wrote this paper to commemorate the one-hundredth anniversary of Whitehead’s influential essay,” said Estes. “And to reflect with my peers on how theological education in the Baptist tradition can make better use of our students’ romantic sense-making capacities (as intimated by Whitehead and later developed by the educational theorist Kieran Egan).”
Estes shared a summary of his paper and presentation below:
In between his careers as a Cambridge mathematician and a Harvard philosopher, Alfred North Whitehead spent fourteen years in London trying to reform traditional British education. He first introduced what may be his most enduring educational insight — that there is, or should be, a rhythm to education — during a 1922 address to the Training College Association titled “The Rhythm of Education.”
As he envisioned it, education begins with romance, “the stage of first apprehension [during which] the subject-matter has the vividness of novelty; it holds within itself unexplored connections with possibilities half-disclosed by glimpses and half-concealed by the wealth of material…Romantic emotion is essentially the excitement consequent on the transition from the bare facts to the first realizations of the import of their unexplored relationships.” The rhythm of education, then, consists in cyclical stages of alternating dominance between qualities of romance, precision, and then generalization.