Is there a benefit for manual training or hobbies for professions such as the ministry? I would suppose that doctors, lawyers, salesmen, and others would have a similar situation? Is this something that is too late to incorporate in college or even in post graduate courses or workshops?There is a long standing tradition of hands-on service within most religious faiths and in the early Christian church Paul was a professional tent maker rather than a professional minister. I told about this in an earlier blog post, Isolation of the head from the hand in learning. Paul, unlike most Christian ministers of today, earned his keep through his trade, rather than by extracting a salary from the collection plate. Martin Luther believed that every man regardless of his occupation (including the ministry) should be equipped and trained in a trade. Within the Jewish tradition, it was believed that every man should be trained in a skilled trade. There are things we learn about life, and the challenges of life that require real effort to acquire a skilled relationship to physical reality. And so the engagement of the hands in service was not just about working at the "I have a hobby level," but a matter of even deeper concern. If the relationship between vocation and ministry interests you, you will find a great deal more discussion of the subject at the Domesticated Theology Blog.
I have a friend who retired from academia after spending over 30 years teaching philosophy at the University of Virginia. He served as an odd man out, knowing his views differed from those of others in his department due to his early summers working in construction and agriculture. His real world practical experience informed his views of nearly all other things. A practical man might wonder how one could become an effective philosopher without having first-hand commonplace experience in real life. That some are "purely academic" can explain a few things. Luke asks also about all those other occupations as well, doctors, lawyers, salesmen, etc. Is there any aspect of human life that the hands do not touch, that they do not shape, or that they would not have shaped had they been trained and encouraged to become skillfully engaged?
Is it too late for colleges and universities to come to an understanding of the importance of hands-on experiential learning? Fortunately, most students know that "purely academic learning" is not enough and that while they are ensconced within the walls of institutions there is a REAL world out there. After four or more years of classroom abstraction they crave engagement in it. That real world, hands-on should be brought within the school walls for more effective learning. Is it too late? We certainly hope not.
Make, fix and create...