Resurgence Publishing Corp.
Book Summaries
First Printing Released
April 23, 2011


The Making of a Teacher:
Bible Studies in the Gospel of Matthew
Review

I am very impressed with these books, both in tone and in subject matter. I agree wholeheartedly that religious and theological reflections are a result of lived experience, and should be seen that way.

It is popular for people to claim they are “spiritual” but not “religious,” as if religious ideas were something outmoded or even unnecessary, getting in the way of a direct experience of the Divine. This creates a false dualism and shows a facile misunderstanding of what religious reflection is all about. Bill Salmon’s book removes this stigma upon theological reflection and shows the distinction between “religious” and “spiritual” to be a false one. In fact, Salmon’s book goes further and shows how theological ideas are central to spiritual development.

The problem is not with theology, but with those who misunderstand how important theology is for spirituality. Theological ideas are, after all, second order language, and are only possible following a spiritual experience, a direct sense of awe and worship of the Divine. People can only come to conclusions about religious ideas when they have spent time trying to explain their own religious experience.

Unfortunately, for many, theology gets put into a place it was never meant to occupy, and becomes a set of static concepts, designed to encapsulate religious experience in a series of immutable propositions. These concepts become standardized, and eventually become purely mental constructs, removed from lived experience.

Furthermore, people don’t think in terms of abstract concepts, but in terms of concrete terms regarding things and events which matter most in their lived experience. After all, no one falls in love with an idea. People only fall in love with persons. By turning God into a set of ideas, it becomes harder and harder for anyone to follow their hearts and truly love him. By reducing religious terms to abstract concepts, it makes it impossible to see and understand how those ideas affect us in the first place. Thus the personal experience of God becomes farther and farther removed from things that really matter.

By taking theological ideas and concepts away from purely academic categories, Salmon tries to restore theological reflection to its rightful place, as a critical, meaningful reflection on individual experience of God in the first place. Theological ideas are not conceptual head trips, but experiential gut trips, the result of each individual confronting their own world head on and seeing what really matters. Salmon makes the claim that deep spirituality comes from being deeply religious.

Dr. Philip S. Meckley
Professor of Religion
Kansas Wesleyan University, Salina, Kansas
About the Author

Dr. William Salmon is a retired United Methodist Minister and trained at the Ecumenical Institute, Chicago, now known as EI/ICA Chicago. In addition to this book, he is the author of "The Making of a Teacher," also published by Resurgence Publishing Corporation.

In his career he served eighteen years in Kansas United Methodist Churches, eleven years as a Kansas Wesleyan University Administrator, and eleven years in international work with the Institute of Cultural Affairs (EI/ICA). For over fifty years he is married to Beverly Trapp, his college sweetheart. They live in Salina, Kansas – in the Nation’s Heartland.
by Dr. William Salmon

Copyright 2011
Cover Price: $17.50
Pages: 282
ISBN:
0976389274
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Chart of Gospel of Matthew (pdf)