Archive for November, 2009

Followup — Studying to Serve, or, On Not Being a Self-Centered Idiot

Wednesday, November 11th, 2009

It occurs to me that when I wrote my last post, the basic thought I had in mind got lost in all the reflecting.

Self-centered teaching: Go off, think allegedly insightful, ground-breaking, epiphanic thoughts.  Then gather an audience and broadcast your views.  Stop there.  (Analogy:  A radio.  Tossing spaghetti against the wall, but not really caring if it sticks.  Example: Arrogant, unconcerned professors.)

Christ-like teaching: Because you’re motivated by genuine affection & concern for people, you get involved with people’s lives.  You make time.  Intimacy happens.  You might be a lecture-style teacher, or a blogger, or a radio host–but your life also includes discipleship relationships. You meet with people, you know what’s going on in their lives, you’re concerned about them and their growth.  You follow up.

Why this is on my mind: I’ve been realizing that some aspects of my personal relationships really stink.  Or are underdeveloped.  I want to change–to see all my relationships be more natural, friendly, affectionate, generous, discerning, and humble.  In the area of truth/teaching/doctrine/understanding, I want to include a genuine posture of hearing & receiving.  I want my speaking/teaching/encouraging to come out of an integrated concern for people.  I want to be able to talk about these things naturally, conversationally.

Coincidentally, Frank Turk just posted something this morning on a related subject (comment #6).  He included a highly appropriate verse, so here it is:

Paul, talking to his protege Timothy:

The aim of our charge is love that issues from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith. Certain persons, by swerving from these, have wandered away into vain discussion, desiring to be teachers of the law, without understanding either what they are saying or the things about which they make confident assertions. (1 Tim. 1:5-7)

Studying to Serve, or, On Not Being a Self-Centered Idiot

Saturday, November 7th, 2009

There is a difference between simply studying and being a disciple.  The same is true on the teaching side.  Why do we do what we do, and what kind of fruit are we seeking?

I love to study.  To read.  To learn.  I’m like many theology-reading, coffee-shop-dwelling, blog-haunting, podcast-devouring twenty-somethings.

It can be a source of pride.  Forget justification by works–we’ve got justification by podcast.  You want to see fruit?  Just look at the list of people who I read & listen to.  Impressive, no?

Studying Well

Do we study to master the information?  To delight in fascinating controversy?  To best opponents?

Or do we study to see God more clearly, to love him more truly?  Know him, to depend on his promises, and to stop living in small-minded, self-centered ways?  Do we study to look into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and persevere in pure, undefiled religion before God?  To see and hear Christ, and act?  To rein in spiteful tongues, to speak blessing & encouragement, and to love those who need it most?  (James 1:22-27)