Friday, June 16, 2006

Learned or Learner

I used to be a learned professor. Now I'm a learner.

When I was learned, life was a quiz show. Now that I'm a learner, life is a discovery channel.

When I was learned, it was a question of how much I knew. Now that I'm a learner, it's a question of how much I'm being stretched.

When I was learned, knowledge was everything. Now that I'm a learner, kindness is everything.

When I was learned, knowledge went to my head. Now that I'm a learner, knowledge travels the longest foot in the universe–-the foot that separates my head from my heart.

When I was learned, I used to point my finger and pontificate. Now that I'm a learner, I slap my forehead all the time.

When I was learned, I used to think I was the best. Now that I'm a learner, I do the best I can.


When I was learned, I was frightened of new ideas. Now that I'm a learner, I'm just as frightened of old ideas.


When I was learned, I looked to the past: to have confirmed the set of beliefs I already had. Now that I'm a learner, I look to the future: to grow, be stretched, and remain open to what I don't know.

When I was learned, I knew where I was going. Now that I'm a learner, I don't know where I'm going----but I know whom I've going with.

When I was learned, I loved to talk. Now that I'm a learner, I'd prefer to listen, because that's when I'm learning.

When I was learned, I had something to teach everybody. Now that I'm a learner, everybody has something to teach me.

When I was learned, I was impatient with dumb people. Now that I'm a learner, I'm grateful when people are patient enough to dumb down to me and care enough to smarten me up.

When I was learned, I thought that all knowledge was a form of power. Now that I'm a learner, I suspect much knowledge is a form of weakness.

When I was learned, life was knowledge about God. Now that I'm a learner, life is knowledge of God.

When I was learned, I knew where my nose was headed. Now that I'm a learner, I go where my nose leads me.

When I was learned, mission meant "go to give." Now that I'm learned, mission work is becoming pilgrimage: mission means "go to learn."

When I was learned, my life revolved around what other people thought about me. Now that I'm a learner, my life revolves around what I think about myself and what God thinks about me.

When I was learned, from the high ground of hindsight I instructed the past on where it went wrong. Now that I'm a learner, the past instructs me about how I can right the future.


When I was learned, the power and mystery were in the big words. Now that I'm a learner, the power and mystery are in the small, simple words.

When I was learned, I thought that the educational system was so much better than the market, the other main channel for the mediation of cultural capital. Now that I'm a learner, I realize just how closed and controlling the knowledge industry can be.

When I was learned, I deemed the great threats those made dangerous by strength. Now that I'm a learner, I deem the great threats those made dangerous by weakness.

When I was learned, I loved to fill out questionnaires. Now that I'm a learner, questionnaires are an exercise in saying "I Dunno" since I keep checking the "don't know" box. ("Don't know" doesn't mean "don't care")

When I was learned, I imagined myself the church's resident "know-it-all." Now that I'm a learner, I'm more willing to admit I don't know everything.

What I was learned, I was always trying to speed things up. Now that I'm a learner, I'm always trying to slow things down, even when I'm speeding up.

When I was learned, I bragged about how our knowledge is an ever deepening ocean. Now that I'm a learner, I shudder at how our wisdom is an ever-shrinking drop.

When I was learned, I said, "Take it from me." Now that I'm a learner, I say, "Don't take it from me." I boast no immaculate perceptions. I see through a glass dimly.

I'm still an academic. As a theologian, I have my little bottle of Windex and am cleaning that glass for all it's worth. I'm trying to get rid of as much fog and film as I can. But the best I will ever to is to "know in part." I will never "know it all." God's ways are not our ways (Isaiah 55:8) , and God's thoughts not our thoughts.

Copyrighted by Leonard Sweet

2 Comments:

At 2:20 PM, Anonymous Roy Williams said...

Being Learned -- I know better than to use yellow as a color on my type when placed over a beige background. Great Blog, Chris. I've been looking up in my KJV Concordnance for the word "Blog" Where is it found in the Bible? Of course, I received my degree in Greek over 40 years ago. Maybe it hadn't been discovered back then. It certainly isn't in the Williams translation.

 
At 6:07 PM, Blogger ChriS & Yvette Ferguson said...

Okay, Roy...I concede you are "learned" color is changed:)

 

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