15.4.04

Due to a large amount of seemingly random input over the last week or so, I have been thinking about a few things I want to share. Isn't that how it always works?

I have been thinking about technology, learning/education, stories/imagination, and spirituality, and how all these things interact. I have realized that my views on these things are heavily interrelated. I hate it in school when they make us memorize things, especially names and dates. Who cares about the names and the dates? I realized why I hate it to; it is because it is useless and pointless, just the kind of work I hate. I can look any of those up on the internet in less time than it takes to find them in a text book, and chances are it will only get easier, so why should I waste time memorizing them? Isn't understanding why an event happened, how it happened, if it was a good thing, how we could prevent it or duplicate it, how we know what happened, etc. much more important than knowing who did it, when, and where? The important thing to know along this vein, then, is how to distinguish good and true information from bad. We all know the internet is filled with crap. Isn't it more important then to learn how to learn, and to learn how to filter?


Some similar ideas have largely affected my reading of the bible. Systematic theology is not very attractive to me. Systems don't seem to fit, either the book, or real life. I can go online and with a few clicks look up every reference to the bible, with the greek or hebrew words if I want (even though I suck at greek, and am not that great at Hebrew), to love, war, peace, justice, kill, murder, hate, humility, prayer, or whatever else I want; and suddenly systematic theology doesn't work so well. Try reading some of the references to faith and works side by side, or to wisdom, or many other words. There is more complexity here than we give credit for when we crush it all into a neat box.

Along the same lines, lets do an imaginative excercise. Imagine being a Christian, or discipling other Christians, who could not read, and never would. How much of our devotions do we focus on bible reading? I am not saying this is a bad thing, it is a privilige I treasure, or try to (though most of the time I don't appreciate it nearly enough), but I am pointing out that technology affects our spirituality. How can it not? So what does the technology do to my spirituality? I have the bible on my palm pilot, and in the 2 months I have had it, or less, I have taken more notes there than I ever did on my paper bibles in the previous 7 yrs. As I mentioned, I have easily accessible complete concordances, and more commentaries at my fingertips than I would care to read. The 37 volume set of the early church fathers is availabe free online, I have that to (no I haven't even scratched the surface). Besides redirecting my focus to a much broader view, I also have been grateful to be able to develop hermenuetical skills for my bible reading, as well as my internet reading. I was lucky to have a prof in my second year university who taught us that stuff, not just for bible reading, but more generally.

Lets take Disney to. Today on my way back up to edmonton we saw the Prince of Egypt, which I watched mostly without sound. Still, it brought up questions around the exodus narrative that I had never asked myself before. What did Moses feel about the plagues? what was his relationship to Pharoah? What kind of person was he, really? We so commonly case biblical figures into a role which just happens to fit our ideal, whatever that may be. but what do we actually know, and what can we imagine? Disney made me ask this... not sunday school, not sermons, not books I am reading. Partially this is my fault; its not like I have never heard of, or done, imaginative readings of scripture, but it also seems that I, at least, have been taught to look at biblical narrative in certain, very limited, ways.

So I have to ask to wonder, what else will technology do to my spirituality, and others? And what is really important about education? Is that not changing drasitcally? Is it not more and more important everyday to learn how to filter; filter our defensive reactions from our honest and open ones, filter false information and unreliable sources from good ones, filter bad arguements and logic from well developed thoughts and ideas? Filter out our limitations so that we ask more and more questions? Is it not more and more important to learn how to learn, instead of presuming we know how to teach? Is it not more and more important to know ourselves better and better, instead of being taught to run from ourselves? And what of the Christian walk with our Lord, the wild God, unpredictable, infinitely loving, beyond our imagination in every way, and yet who became one of us. Should we not explore the new possibilities and vistas open to us, instead of fighting to stay where we are so that the future can happen to us unaware and unexpected?

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