Sunday, October 4, 2009

Live. Learn. Experience. By April.

This is the first time I have posted something written by anyone other than myself on my blog. However, it is completely warranted. This is an essay written by my good friend April.

I almost wonder if she wrote this essay for me and about me. I am the person of the first few lines... a kid studying to be a pastor, so wrapped up in theology, doctrine, and who's right and who's wrong that I forget what pastors do. They help people. They teach people. They get out and they live for God. They Live Out Loud - ironically, that's the title of April's blog.

I've always been the doctrinal guy, but she's always seen the value of living the faith instead. I've always been the one who's wrapped up in first-century manuscripts, she's always been the one wrapped up in twenty-first century relationships.

So I guess I need to take to heart a lot of the values of April. I don't need to forfeit my doctrinal study. But at the end of the day, I need to realize what's most important. Jesus did. He could quote the scriptures forward and backward, sure, but He knew that that those scriptures were meant to be lived out.

Here is April's essay. April, if you're reading this, I just want to say thanks for reminding me of things I all too easily forget.


Live. Learn. Experience.

Let’s say I wanted to learn all I possibly could about Christianity. I could watch documentaries, learn theory and doctrine, and of course study the Bible. I could be considered a very religious person because I know so much about God. But as many Christians know, truly knowing God is different than knowing about God. You have to experience God’s love and Christ’s forgiveness to really know what it means. Just as one cannot fully understand what it means to lose a friend, until he has lost-- what it means to face a fear, until he has faced it-- or what it means to love, until he has loved. It is said by many about life “live and learn.”

It is also said, “Learn from your mistakes.” Unfortunately, some things have to be learned the hard way, because after discovering what not to do, you usually learn how to do it the right way too. Like the baby who cannot walk yet, all she knows is what she sees from watching others. But no matter how much the baby studies other people’s walking, she will always fall down the first time. It may take many tries before she can get anywhere on her two feet. But if she doesn’t give up, she will soon learn to walk. Because we are humans, we will fall sometimes, but we were created to learn from our mistakes, and to learn from experience, good or bad.

In Francis Bacon’s “Of Studies” he says, “[studies] perfect nature, and are perfected by experience: for natural abilities are like natural plants, that need proyning, by study; and studies themselves do give forth directions too much at large, except they be bounded in by experience.” In modern English you could say something like this, “People have natural abilities, and they are perfected by experience, like plants that need pruning. Much can be learned from studies, but true knowledge comes through experience.”

Another way to learn is to take what you already know and strive towards improvement. In my years of playing flute I’ve found that practice makes (almost) perfect; however, just sitting in the band room wasn’t what improved my skills, no. I think what most helped me was going to Solo and Ensemble contest, which meant my abilities would be seriously tested. It’s never easy stepping up to a new level and having to make your work as best as it possibly can be. Performing in this contest meant I would play in front of a judge and a small audience, and I could also listen to others do the same. Experience. It’s what can polish natural ability, and inspire you to keep pushing forward.

Because we are humans we learn something new every day; because we live our life, we grow from experience. Today, we need to open up our minds to new information, a new perspective, and new experiences. For every experience there is the chance of not only knowing more than before, but being more than before. Whether it be mistakes or successes, experience and the memory of those experiences make us who we are today.

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