Rule #7: Trying Again

Rule #7 has been very weak in this blog so far and I'm not ok with that. While this blog is unread I am enjoying writ ting it and want the constant to have good quality. Also I expect my writ ting skill, while mediocre, to increase as the posts continue. I don't have time to do 5 proof reads and sometimes I do nothing more than a simple spell check but I do expect the overall quality to move in the upward direction. I felt the first two posts for Rule #7 were very poor quality and need to be rewritten. The primary hindrance was the lack of conclusion. I didn't give a solid punch or take-away. So this time I'll keep the post a little more organized and have a clear conclusion in it.

Rule #7 is a conglomeration of several principles. I could break them all out but I felt they fit well in the Never Stop Learning box. Those principles include:

  1. Perspective - This is what the blind man and the elephant parable was about. If we are all blind men we need each others perspective to get the whole picture. The younger we are the less experience we have the more important perspective is. When I approach a new subject I spend good time talking to friend and bouncing idea off of them. I find people who have done it before add them to my council. A car has a blind spot. A place where the rearview mirror and side mirror can not see. So when you change lanes it is important to take your eyes off the mirrors, change your perspective, and look at that blind spot. Find people older and wiser even if for just one or two topics and listen to them. I have a friend I go too when I need to know something about music and different person I go to to discuss theology. Even in theology I have one mentor I ask when I need a perspective that covers the new creation mentality and different friend when I want to understand historical context of a biblical passage. This principle comes home with Solomon's heir Rehoboem. Rehoboem was wise enough to seek council before making an important decision. However he was also very foolish in that he took the advice of people who had the same perspective he did. How silly would it be for 5 blind men to grab a leg and agree an elephant isn't real it's just a tree? Instead talk to the guy who says something different and get his perspective [1 King 12]. The most valuable way to gain perspective is to understand yourself. If you know your blind spots you will know when to ask for help.
  2. Humility - A very poor attempt was made at covering this in the last two posts together. Humility can be difficult to define. Many define humility as weak, letting other push you over, etc. But humility is better defined as being willing to listen. Anyone can teach you something. No one person has the same life experience as you so everyone has a perspective. I remember listening to a person I hold in very low regard, who had lied, manipulated, and stolen from me. It was difficult to do as I was very offended by this person. But I learned many very valuable lessons from him. Some lessons directly. He had revelations in scripture, genuine revelations that I needed to hear. A liar can still love Jesus. And some things I learned more indirectly. I heard him talk about some of his theologies and gained understanding of a whole group of people that he represented. It was a very wrong theology but I finally understood why people followed it, valuable info if I ever have to discuss the theology with someone I am mentoring. I learned more from this individual then I did many of my other friends during that season of my life because I was humble enough to listen to a fool. I always appreciated a lesson from my pastor that I simplify to "This is how we build churches in Africa." It was a training exercise before I went on a missions trip to Africa and during the frustrating exercise as we were trying to solve some problems and find ways around them he just kept repeating that phrase. Finally we realized their was no solution or way around, we just needed to pay attention and perform the task as described. When in Africa the lesson came in handy. We saw so many "inefficiencies" in their system but resisted the desire to "fix" them. After a couple weeks we learned a little bit more about the situation and realized they were not "inefficiencies" at all. Some of them were cultural issues, some were just plain differences in available resources. We learned that just because their is a better way it may not actually be better. Let he that thinks he stand take head lest he fall [1 Cor 10:12].
  3. Be curious, Be ambitious - As mentioned in my last post curiosity is the seat of learning. Ask question and insist on answers. If you ever ask yourself why, find the answer. While you're at it overcome your fears the same way. Why am I afraid of? The trick to overcome fears is to learn about what you're afraid of. If you're afraid of snakes, buy a book about snakes and learn everything you can about them. In the end you may grow to love the thing you fear. Curiosity cures fear, curiosity cures ignorance. With fear and ignorance gone you are just an ambitious moment away from fulfilling your goals, dreams, and desires. "Get wisdom, get understanding" [Prov 4:5].
  4. Be a teacher. The most effective method of learning is teaching. People tend to resent un-requited knowledge so it's important to choose the right time and the right people to teach, pearls before swine [Matt 7:6]. I teach by writing sermon and now this blog. I have learned several things the past 2-3 weeks by writ ting this blog that I just never occurred to me during personal study and meditation. "Exhort one another" [Heb 3:13]

All this comes down to the same base principle. Never stop learning. The day I stop learning will be the day I die.