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29.10.2021

An Ode to Learning

If you find yourself marvel-less this day, may I humbly offer you something to provoke some marvelling? Marvellous! That something is the sheer volume of quality, accessible learning opportunities afforded to us in our digital age.

The other day, while exercising on the patio, I tucked in to my first ever episode of the Power Corrupts podcast, gaining insight into how governments rig elections. Later that day, I was on my knees, dealing with a basket of coloured washing. I popped on a YouTube video about the benefits of immersing oneself in cold water… and have subsequently got myself acquainted with the River Ouse.

Then, for the few minutes my kids were not requiring me to rescue them from the monkey bars at the park, I read a few articles in The Week magazine… avoiding the one about epidemic levels of pollution in our rivers, naturally.

Back when ‘I were a lad’, learning was a necessary evil. In fact, I didn’t even think it was necessary.

But now that I’ve got a few greys coming through, I’ve realised just what a joy it is to learn. Some of my happiest times are times when I’m learning. Learning makes life rich – it helps us appreciate the depth and complexity of this world and the humans God has placed within it – in all our beauty and brokenness. Learning is a creational gift: we are hardwired to seek out knowledge, to retain it, to connect apparently random bits of it together, to use it, and share it.

Providing our hearts are turned outwards to the world in humble service, learning swells our capacity to serve others. And in our desire to help others discover the relevance of Christ and his gospel to their everyday lives, learning creates infinite connection points. I discovered this when chatting to a guy in the pool, who’s about to start a PhD in desert agriculture. An audiobook I’d listened to had talked about pressures on global food supplies, so I was at least able to ask some semi-intelligent questions, and affirm the God-given goodness of his course.

So, let’s give thanks to God for the amazing opportunities we have to learn – in ways that are engaging, accessible, and often free. Let’s be like Jesus, who – from the evidence of his parables – clearly took time to learn about so many aspects of life. And for the enriching of our minds, and in the service of others, let’s keep learning.

 

Joe Warton
Church Team – Research & Development

 

What have you been listening to or reading lately? How is it helping you appreciate aspects of God’s world, or helping you connect with those around you?

Comments

  1. Brilliant Joe, as long as you don’t become distracted and allow any red socks in with the whites.

    By Tracey Burch  -  29 Oct 2021
  2. There is a danger in seeking too much learning on everything and anything Ihave been retired for many years and it is so easy to spend many hours reading the online newspaper rather than the Bible and simply waiting on the Lord

    By Peter Dawson  -  29 Oct 2021
  3. Thanks Joe. Brings Phil 4 v 8 to mind: ‘Finally, beloved, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.’ (NRSV)

    By MIck Blaylock  -  29 Oct 2021
  4. Thanks for this, Joe. I think school left me burnt out from learning because it’s an inflexible way of gaining knowledge (not that that’s always bad, per se; exhausting though). Now, ten years after I left school and a university degree later, I often wonder what’s “wrong” with me when I hunger to learn. This article really helps me see that it’s not a bad thing to be interested in many things and want to know more.

    “Learning is a creational gift: we are hardwired to seek out knowledge, to retain it, to connect apparently random bits of it together, to use it, and share it.” — so, so true. As long as we remember knowledge isn’t just logical, head stuff that you find in heavy textbooks and have to remember to pass GCSEs!

    By Sarah H  -  29 Oct 2021
  5. I’ve been reading a novel, called “The Overstory” by Richard Powers, which is a wonderful book about trees through the lives of various different people, and although not overtly Christian, has a great message about creation and the role and power of trees in ecology, and how we ignore the natural wonder of God’s earth at our peril. A great conversation starter with the many people who are realising the bad effect human-kind has had, and need to think again about our beliefs and lifestyles. And although a novel, it is based on sound biological facts.

    By Lou  -  29 Oct 2021
  6. Great to see your recommendation of ” Power Corrupts”, first ever a Christian public opinion about government rigging elections. The relationship between learning and helping others to know Christ is exactly how I feel as well.

    By Katherine  -  29 Oct 2021

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