Call the Midwife

midwife

Call the midwife

Every job has its occupational hazards and one such hazard for lecturers is thinking too much of ourselves. We stand in front of people day in and day out. They listen to us (well most of the time). We can require things of them. We have letters after our name. And we are very useful – how would students learn without us?

Many of the models we use to describe our work feed this attitude. Teacher, example, guide, leader. Maybe what we need is a model which puts us in our place.

Rosemary Guenther writing about spiritual direction uses the model of midwife. Apply this to our job and immediately we are in a different atmosphere. The midwife does not give birth to something new, the midwife is not the focus of attention nor is she as important as the one giving birth.

Of course, she has seen it all before. Hopefully she also has given birth, and here she is now, standing by to help this wonderful process take place safely and well in another person.

The birth of new understanding, new relationship with God, new abilities to serve, will happen not in you the teacher but in the student. You can be a great help in these processes of giving birth. Your enthusiastic presentation of the concepts involved, your very person as an exhibit of what the students would love to be – academically, spiritually and in ministry – is often greatly used by God in their formation. But it will happen in them.

And, fundamentally, it will happen not because of what you do in the classroom but because of what the Holy Spirit does in the mind and heart (although, thank God, the two are sometimes linked by His grace).

I don’t know whether Mary had a midwife, but if she was around when the angel came to Mary, perhaps the angel would have said to the midwife also “that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost – but thanks for helping”.

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4 Comments on “Call the Midwife”


  1. Thank you Dr Graham for your stimulating post as always and for your service to TE and the kingdom. The metaphor of midwife is a helpful and liberating one. But hopefully we will not only help others in the birthing process but that we also will have something birthed in us afresh as we midwife the spiritual giants of the next generation.

  2. Liam Hanna Says:

    A really helpful thought, Graham.

    I will use it at our next Staff Devotions,

    God Bless,

    Liam

    BTW I also regularly use your Lecturer’s prayer!! ☺

  3. Paul Sanders Says:

    Loved it !!!

    Paul SANDERS La Coutancire 4, alle de l’Aire 44240 La Chapelle-sur-Erdre FRANCE Tel. +33 6 29 33 00 92

  4. Campbell Hamilton Says:

    Thanks Graham,
    a real gem, injecting a healthy dose of humility into our work.


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