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Lifelong Learners

June 2022 Newsletter

It has been pointed out to me multiple times in the last year and at various times in the past that there are times that I talk over people’s heads. If it’s about theology I can sympathize given that a reasonable portion of my time was and is spent learning and continuing to learn it. And so, if I’m speaking over people’s heads my hope is that it’s understandable and forgivable simply because I’m trying to properly discharge my duties. Seeing life through the lens of God’s Word in all things should come naturally to every pastor and should be what he seeks to inculcate and foster in the hearts and minds of his people.

This was brought to my attention most directly by the big room students recently. The other day one of them asked me if I was purposely choosing words from their spelling list because I used the word ‘minute’ to mean small, and had the previous week used the word ‘jeopardy,’ a few other words were proffered, but what was eventually revealed was that the teacher has taken to purposefully choosing words for spelling/vocab that she thought I might use to help the kids keep up. It was made further clear this morning when we had a conversation about the meaning of the word ‘adversity,’ then adversary, then adverse, all in an effort to try to guide them to understanding the word on their own. I disdain spoon feeding, it teaches almost nothing. Memorization is good only if you understand the thing you have memorized. Tradition and history are helpful only if they are attached to something of worth.

But this got me thinking about various conversations that I’ve had over the years about the importance of understanding, education, and learning. Add on top of that the school year coming to a close, final grade being sent home, conversations about summer school and the perennial fear of ‘the summer slide’ as students lose some the knowledge gained over the previous school year during the off months of summer. Then as a pastor I would be remiss if didn’t mention public questioning and confirmation coming up on June 1st and 5th respectively. It harkens back to the opening paragraph and presumably is chief amongst the things one ought to learn. If there is a summer slide in relation to learning lost over the summer, then what of the drop off after graduation? (I spent longer than I wanted to trying to find a word that started with “g” to describe loss and be alliterative). Clearly for many there is a post-confirmation chasm or cutback or curtailing that seems to happen for many. (Notice just a few of the many that came to mind or were found while searching for a descriptor earlier).

What is the point of all this? It’s an encouragement to be a life-long learner in as many areas of life as you can. Chiefly in regard to your faith, its maintenance, development, and maturity. Only “fools despise knowledge,” reminds Solomon in Proverbs, and none of us wants to be told we are a fool, nor be known for our ignorance. Childlike faith for all its extolling virtues also carries with it the other aspect of childhood of inquisitiveness. Children ask “why?” and how things work regularly. Young children especially know they don’t know and seek to learn. Again, the need to be lifelong learners of the vast swath of knowledge, insight, and understanding presented to us just in God’s Word comes to mind. If we are to truly love our God and love our neighbor, we must be steeped in this for the formation of our fundamental Biblical worldview so that we are able to be of proper eternal help to our neighbor in pointing them to their God as seen through all other aspects of study and learning that take place in our ongoing maturing as children of God walking through this life.

God’s blessings on your summer/lifelong learning,

Pastor Nick

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