For those not interested in Newman...
These days we seem to have an insatiable desire for the new. This is understandable, perhaps, in our incredibly inventive age, but as I grow older (and hopefully more mature) the more I appreciate returning to the wisdom of what is old. I was once told that, in days gone by (well before my time), students of my alma mater seminary were encouraged, when they became ministers, to make it a practice to re-read annually and make notes on several theological classics (one of these was Walther's 'Law and Gospel'). The classics are seminal; contemporary theology doesn't hold a candle to them. I think that really is the way to acquire theological wisdom, as opposed to mere knowledge or information, or having our ears tickled with the latest speculations. And if one day our books should be taken away from us, or we from them - no matter, for we will have educated ourselves inwardly.
Two or so years ago I heard the literary critic George Steiner on the wireless in the old manse (wireless radio, that is) lamenting the decline of memorisation in modern education, including memorisation of the Bible interesting given that Steiner is an agnostic Jew as far as I know. The memorised wisdom and culture of the past was, according to Steiner, like 'ballast for the journey of life'. Deprived of it, young people today are empty vessels tossed violently on the sea of life by the many winds of opinion which buffet them.
It doesn't take too much imagination to consider the impact of this 'cultural amnesia' on the church and the clergy of today. From sunday school through confirmation to seminary, memorisation is a practice increasingly difficult to inculcate in young people. As a result, compared to previous generations of Christians, we are today, in my opinion, impoverished in our intellectual and spiritual formation. It's not my purpose here to lay the blame for that at anyone in particular - sometimes swells in the general culture swamp the best of institutions and intentions. When the schools no longer require children to memorise poetry, or times tables, or even passages from the Bible, as previous generations once did, it requires a mighty and concerted effort from the church to actively resist the trend. Do we have the courage to attempt it? Do we have a choice?