What I have learned

Ben is making us think about 2006. Actually, he isn’t making anyone do anything, but Ben Yoskovitz invited people to write about what they learned in 2006 and that is an invitation that I can’t refuse.

1. I learned that I can still learn.

I looked at my blog archives and realized that in the first part of the year I was musing about stuff sporadically . About the middle of the year the number and length of posts increased, as did the appearance of audio posts, video posts, flickr posts, contributions to a podcast. In the first part of the year in real space I produced two video spots a week for our church services which was a wonderful training process. I’m listening to theology lectures and church services from other places on the iPod Shuffle I stole from our son.

So I have learned a ton this year ABOUT social technologies and have learned a ton USING social technologies.

2. I learned that I can’t predict what I’ll learn.

What got me started on the middle of the year burst of learning was some browsing in personal productivity blogs, which is where I met Chris.who has pushed me in remarkable ways. HOWEVER my productivity is as bad as it ever was.

3. I learned that community is a really complex thing

I can feel pain and joy for people that I have never seen, hardly ever talk with, and will likely never be in the same space with very much if at all. And yet I can still laugh as they talk, can still ache when I read that they are having family struggles (Becky’s dad with Alzheimer’s), can pray for them.

What makes this interesting is that this digital awareness has stimulated my face-to-face community as well. I am working on all of my caring, all of my connecting. I am attending to relationships with people in MA, Kenya, Cyprus, Ecuador, New Zealand, across the street, around the corner, down the hall, across the city…you get the picture.

So I know that I don’t understand community 0.0 OR 2.0, or communication or communion…but I am more committed than ever to try to understand. I am learning to ask for help or advice. I’m learning to give encouragement. I’m learning that we are built to be in community.

4. I learned that I can articulate what I am passionate about.

I hate tests that put people in boxes or quadrants or seasons or kinds of animals or any of those things. So when a group of leaders from our church had a retreat in January where we went through that kind of an assessment, I was not thrilled. It was a process that looked at our gifts, our skills, our passions, our time constraints. In spite of my own discomfort, I knew that I needed to go through the process because we were inviting all of our church to go through the same process.

At the end of the series of questions and exercises, there was one last line. On that line we were invited to think through everything we had considered and write down our passion.

Here’s what I wrote: helping people emotionally understand the truth of God’s work.

Understand that being passionate about things is not something I do. In fact, 18 years ago, I had a doctoral committee tell me that my answers to their questions were technically correct but that I lacked passion. I couldn’t even argue with them.

However, last January I realized that when I write dramas, when I shoot video, when I teach and preach, when I meet with people who are struggling, when I counsel couples planning to get married, when I tell stories, I desperately, wholeheartedly, passionately want them to FEEL as much as KNOW that there is a God who passionately loves them.

I had never put that into words.

When I did, it began a process of changing my year, changing my life.

5. I learned that I’m too driven.

I was once described as a type A person in a type B body. I argued. I’m losing that argument.

That’s it. Well, that’s it for now. But it does mean that Ben is out another $5. And whatever else I learn will be for free (at least to him).

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4 responses to “What I have learned

  1. Number 4 should be number 1 or number 5. It’s the one that counts the most!

    May God bless that one in your life.

    I’m thinking about doing a “5 Things” list – I may when I get off of work. (The office closes at noon on Thursday.)

  2. I’ve learned that I like people who work hand in hand with God, or more to the point, that I like you. Thank you for everything you’ve given me this year. It’s endless. Who do you unload upon? Where does YOUR wild brain throw its leftovers?

  3. Hmmmm. There’s a compost pile in the backyard, and Tolkein talked about gathering all kinds of thoughts and ideas from everywhere and them ending up in the “rich leaf mould of the mind.” That’s why LOTR has a ring of classic familiarity.

    I inflict my quiet wildness on the people around me. Our daughter, poor child, on the ride to school each morning. Nancy at the oddest moments. Church staff on Tuesdays, worship planning people on Monday afternoons. You here, Dave Sjoberg at Cracker Barrel alternate Thursdays. The stream of my consciousness is turbulent but there are several tents along the stream.

    Oh, and yes, a regular flow of conversation that starts, “God, i need your mercy…” and then is followed with, “o wait, I have it.” and then we go on.

  4. Pingback: More Submissions to the Group Writing Project » Instigator Blog