And the one sitting on the throne said, “Look, I am making everything new!” And then he said to me, “Write this down, for what I tell you is trustworthy and true.” – Revelation 21:5
I thought about this face early this morning when I was leading my men’s group. No not as in, “These guys are a bunch of babies”! But as in, “I just love how these men are curious, engaged, open-spirited, and always learning.”
Curious both intellectually and spiritually, and engaged both intellectually and spiritually.
We are in the introductory, prep week for a new study looking at “half-truths”. Things people tend to repeat about the Bible – or insist are in the Bible – that turn out to be at least half wrong (see my “Does God Really Hate Divorce?” article as an example).
How we learn (“if” we learn):
So today we talked about how we learn. And I couldn’t help but think about baby Geoffrey who at five months is learning at warp speed, and his counterpart in Dresden (Mr. T.), who at 20-months has accelerated beyond warp speed and is so excited to be curious and engaged and always learning.
The guys talked about how they learn, and what tends to keep them engaged with the process. It makes me happy to know they all approach life with open spirits.
It seems that my friends tend to learn via a variety of specific styles: some are visual learners, some favor auditory, some read, some respond best to “show me”. But all of them – and this is very important – enjoy an interactive approach to the process.
They do best, they say, when material is presented and then they have the opportunity to turn it over, rephrase it, question what they have heard, listen to someone else’s take on the content or meaning, put it into practice, even teach it to someone else. Learning is seldom achieved in isolation.
The knowledge itself – rather than being a static, fully-formed, lump of information that simply gets copied and then implanted – is itself fluid.
Real learning and real creative growth comes when the coding is open source.
Several years ago a great inventor/innovator – I believe it was Elon Musk – made all his electric car patents available to anyone who wanted to use them. The idea being that innovation and creativity moves forward at a faster rate (and to the benefit of the world) when we share what we learn rather than sit on it. Couple that with non-judgmental listening, peer reviews, ideas, criticisms, potential innovations, improvements etc. and we have learning and knowledge that grows through the process of interaction.
When it comes to the Bible, many of the dogmatic conclusions could use some extra prayer, fine-tuning, a lot of discussion, more prayer, additional background information, more filtering through the Jesus lens.
We should approach our faith more – as Jesus points out – like little children and their wide-eyed wonder. The wonder of discovery, and of learning, and of questioning, and of practice, and of sharing, and of review, and of realizing how much more there is for us to take in.
That is what I pray is always happening when we interact with scripture, and with any opportunity we have to learn.
“Behold, I am making all things new…”
Derek has published seven books in the past decade (you can find them at https://www.amazon.com/Derek-Maul/e/B001JS9WC4), and there’s always something new in the works.
Before becoming a full-time writer, Derek taught public school in Florida for eighteen years, including cutting-edge work with autistic children. He holds bachelor’s degrees in psychology and education from Stetson University and the University of West Florida.
Derek is active in teaching at his church: adult Sunday school, and a men’s Bible study/spiritual formation group. He enjoys the outdoors, traveling, photography, reading, cooking, playing guitar, and golf.