|Sleeping Bear Dunes, Michigan|
This January 12-15 Linda and I will travel to the Dayton, Ohio area where I will teach another round of my Spiritual Formation class to M.Div. students of Payne Theological Seminary (Wilberforce, Ohio).
Payne is one of the oldest Black seminaries primarily concerned with the training of men and women for the ministry. What a great privilege it is to teach there! I have made so many friends over the years. I look forward to meeting the new students and spending four days with them, all centered around the presence of God.
One of the emphases will be: hearing God. The idea of hearing from God is rooted deep in African American spirituality. This includes Daniel Payne himself, the revolutionary 19th-century pastor and educator after whom the seminary is named.
Payne was born to be used by God to bring educational opportunities to blacks. When he was only twelve years old he was studying Latin, Greek, and Hebrew. (In Thabiti Anyabwile, The Faithful Preacher: Recapturing the Vision of Three Pioneering African-American Pastors, 75)
Payne brought these two qualities to : 1) He was a student and scholar; and 2) he heard from God. Anyabwile writes:
"Several weeks after his conversion [at age 18], Payne received an “irresistible and divine” impression during an afternoon prayer. A voice spoke to him saying, “I have set thee apart to educate thyself in order that thou mayest be an educator of thy people.” Thus began Daniel Alexander Payne’s lifelong mission to improve the educational condition of his people." (Ib., 76)
God spoke to Daniel Payne. Mission comes from Mission Control; i.e., from the heart of God, spoken to his children who have ears to hear.