There is a great post by Seth Godin this morning that I felt worth some quick thoughts…
Essentially he is talking about the concept of gathering information (for an assignment, presentation, paper, etc) and the process there including synthesizing that information into useful forms. He references Wikipedia and its usefulness in looking up information. It really got me thinking about the learning process (which I’m always thinking about since I’m in graduate school) and had this quote that I thought was provocative in a great way:
“I don’t know about you, but when I hire someone, or go to the doctor or the architect or an engineer, I could care less about how good they are at memorizing or looking up facts. I want them to be great at synthesizing ideas, the faster and more insightfully, the better.”
Is this true for you? For me it is. I remember the term I overheard my dad and grandpa use when I was a child: “educated idiot.” This was referring to someone who had put the time in to doing the schooling but in the end was unable to turn that into useful productivity.
The application: how are we doing as Christ-followers at not only gathering information about God/Jesus but also synthesizing that into useful information? I suspect that we are great at dispensing information when we teach (from the platform, one-on-one, in a group, etc) but not so good at the synthesis part. Can I just pass on a bunch of information without really understanding it and putting it into my own words and applying it to someone’s life? Absolutely. Guilty as charged.
We MUST remember that it’s important to teach people to think for themselves. To help them understand why they believe what they believe. To help them be able to convey that to someone else in an authentic way. People see past canned responses, honestly. I want to teach those I’m responsible for (my kids, people in groups I oversee, etc) to think for themselves, to move beyond the canned answer and to the thoughtful, intelligent, I-own-this type discussion.
When is the last time you had an intelligent conversation about Jesus with someone who was not a Christ-follower? Did you stumble around and use the typical, canned response you heard somewhere, or were you able to explain your view intelligently and with humility? It’s not enough to “know” a bunch anymore. You have to be able to own it, to see it from multiple angles, to be able to creatively explain why it so.
Just a thought!