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They Don't Teach This at Princeton . . .

There I was, sitting in the sanctuary of Old First Presbyterian Church in San Francisco for the plenary session of a national conference on urban ministry. For the entire nine years I've been in ordained ministry, I've been going to conferences like this one.

Someone always talks about shifting paradigms in the first fifteen minutes. Something about the word "paradigm" and the gravity with which it is pronounced brings out the smart aleck in me.

This particular speaker challenged the gathered paradigm shifters boldly to "Forget everything you learned in seminary!"

"Done!" I shouted, thus befriending the fourth year Princeton student on my right.

For the next three days I kept crossing paths with this student. At the coffee urn, on the walk back to the hotel, at various "break out sessions."

He didn't ask, "Tom, what do you make of these new paradigms?" with wide-eyed expectation. I just commented on what I had seen, simply spur-of-the- moment, down-home-country wisdom of a simple, rather dense ...

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