Soul Mining

Soul Mining is the title of a recent autobiography by musician/producer Daniel Lanois. In his own work, and in his collaborations with people like U2, Bob Dylan, Emmylou Harris and others, he seeks to dig deep into the spirit of the artist/s; to mine their soul. He sees this as the role of the producer of an artist’s music.

I love the concept of ‘soul mining’. It well describes the role of spiritual leadership and Christian writing; of spiritual formation and good preaching. Preaching becomes ‘soul mining’ when it invites dialogue, conversation and transformation rather than being a simple ‘tell’ or informational transaction.

In and around our city there are a quite a few multi-storey buildings being built. The building of tall buildings is an intriguing process. As one writer says, “it’s an odd experience. It’s not like there’s steady progress from foundation to spire. First the builders dig a big hole in the ground. And then, seemingly, they wait. Not much happens for months. But just as you begin to wonder if this project has been another victim of the economy, suddenly like spring blossoming, the building shoots up and is completed in a glass and steel flourish in no time. The secret lies in setting the foundations, making them deep, solid and strong.[i]”

That sounds like soul mining to me.

The current conversations in Vic/Tas around affinity and the renewal of our movement are also about mining the soul, personally and corporately: What is our identity? What is our purpose? Who are we? What are we doing here? In addressing these questions we are setting (or re-setting) the foundations, making them deep, solid and strong, so that we can do the task we have been designed to do. While it has taken some time (like the construction of a skyscraper!), we look forward to spring blossoming; to a new era of health and growth in our movement.

We are confident therefore that this process of soul mining will “bear fruit, fruit that will last”, as Christ chose and appointed us to do, as we go (see John 15:16 NRSV).

Paul Cameron—Executive Officer


P.S. Some other related soul mining some of us have been doing can be found here in a S.W.O.T. Analysis of Churches of Christ in Vic/Tas. When distributed at the recent All Boards Meeting it was agreed to make it available more broadly. What do you think about these perceived Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats? It would be valuable to receive your feedback to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it for future reflection by Council and the Partner Department boards.

[i] End Malaria, ed. Michael Bungay Stanier, Kindle, 2011, p2

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