This blog is not all about me but today I want to introduce my point by telling a little about my life. I love learning stuff.
I tell you that because it is just me. It is not good or bad. Indeed some people don’t like bookish people; they prefer folks who can do stuff with their hands. Others do think highly of folks who like to learn.
For me, it is neither here nor there; I had a life where learning was my strong suit. I loved it. I loved going to school. My mother encouraged me. I was never a young fellow who liked getting my hands dirty on the farm so books I guess were an escape from that.
However, it was more than that.
At the age of 64, I still like learning stuff.
Now as I reflect back on my life of learning, I can see that I have changed a lot and it is because of what I have learned. Pastor Hamilton calls this the change that naturally occurs if we pay attention to our life experiences. All of my life experiences are not from the pages of a book. I have had very important turning points in my life and they have shaped me and molded me. Probably that has happened to you.
But Pastor Hamilton admits in the following words that the shaping and molding does not take place for all people: “Wouldn’t it be odd and disappointing if, after all these experiences, I had not grown, changed or gained a different perspective on life.”
But you know, many people don’t gain anything from life. They work hard to protect themselves from anything new. They seek out stabilizing experiences and material, experiences that confirm their rock hard beliefs rather than call them into question. Some just quit learning altogether.
This drives me crazy. Wouldn’t you know it?
The life-long curious guy encounters a person who has stopped growing from the neck up.
I have to admit I struggle with this kind of person and I judge them harshly. I shouldn’t, but I do.
‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’ [Luke 10: 27]. Jesus says it all right there; love God with “all your mind.” He does not intend us to just quit leaning. He gave us a mind and He expects us to use it.
Why bring this up in the context of Chapter 4 in the book Seeing Gray in a World of Black and White? Well I have met a fair number of people who absolutely refuse to stretch their minds to encompass another person’s point of view. You know the attitude I am talking about here; best expressed in the cliché “My way or the highway.”
Before you condemn me and think I am advocating the dumping of hard core beliefs for the willy-nilly adoption of the “belief of the day”; I am not advocating that.
I am talking about learning new ideas so other positions can be understood. In a black and white world, people suffer from polarization which is not necessary and it is not helpful. I have knowledge about liberal views and I have knowledge about conservative views and it is good to know both positions. I may lean toward one particular perspective but I can at least understand where other people are coming from.
Where did this attitude come from?
The desire to learn.
This week is going to be devoted to spiritual maturity, the idea that God does not want us to be baby Christians forever. He wants us to graduate from milk to meat.
He wants us to learn
He wants us to learn to love Him with all our heart and with all our soul and with all our strength and with all our mind.
Think about it. Maybe all this learning can keep us from polarization, keep us from getting stagnant, keep us from seeing the world as just black or just white.
Maybe learning can help us love our fellow man, even those who refuse to learn.