Saturday, June 19, 2010

Learning, my daily thrill

One of the many values I hope to have transmitted to my children is a life-long love of learning. I mostly learn through the medium of words. I love words.

By far the most common modality through which these words reach me is reading written text. I also access words by listening, as in listening to the lyrics of popular music, religious and secular. I listen to the people in a box as well, the fictional character and the news anchor. My favorite is listening in conversation to all the wonderful people I know IRL. Finally, I write something every day. Writing is my way of processing all I have learned and fine-tuning it so that I can either share it with others or enjoy it all bundled up for myself.

Words rule my life.

I am a voracious reader. I read fiction (American, foreign, novels, short stories), biographies, autobiographies, poetry and non-fiction. Plus I read the Bible, which has all of the above (parables count as fiction =). I read every day.

Right now I am reading two newer books on theology (one new release The Jesus Manifesto, one a year old, The Myth of the Christian Religion) and older book on theology (Kierkegaard, 1968), a self-published autobiography by an MK, and a book about supporting partners with depression.

I sample the magazines that show up in the mail: Rolling Stone, Reason, National Review, a local interest magazine, Enjoying Everyday Life, Charisma and Psychology Today. The Economist and The Christian Science Monitor are too expensive to subscribe but I love to pick up copies when I travel. Some of my subscriptions are set to expire and I will change out to new magazines. There are so many perspectives to learn from in the world!

I downloaded on my nook all three books by Stieg Larssen plus a couple by Ted Dekker (catching up on the Lost Books series) last month. I am thinking of downloading The Scent of Rain and Lightning. I love that title!

I read online everyday. I catch up on the news at Yahoo!, visit for a laugh when I need it, and check up on all my facebook friends a couple of times a week. I have twenty-one blogs bookmarked on my computer and I visit half a dozen daily, and all of them at least weekly.

I learn so much! I love learning. I am so limited in my own experience of life: limited by time, space and my own perspective. Learning from other people enriches my life in ways that I could never achieve on my own! I believe my life is enhanced by experiencing as much of other peoples thoughts, dreams, perspectives, art, imagination and wisdom as I can manage to acquire.

I can't imagine a life where my personal experience and thoughts were all that mattered, all that I was able to learn from. That, in my perspective, would be tragically limiting. Seriously, I am so glad to live in the information age!

I can watch the Wold Cup being played on the other side of the world, listen to birdsong on my own back porch, learn from the hard won wisdom of those who have gone before me from a book, interact with people all over the United States who have touched my life in one way or another via facebook, enjoy conversation and affection with my immediate family members, and have unlimited imaginative access to all I have ever read, listened to, watched, or experienced from the rich treasure of learning I have stored up in my brain.

Sometime during the day (like right now) I will write. I might write a letter, an e-mail, a journal entry or a blog entry, but I will write. I will write about some of the many things that have been on my heart that day: experiences, meditations, memories, struggles, blissful moments. Writing is a gift that I give myself, and I sometimes share with others. Words are a gift.

Words are what binds us all together in community and learning. Some people get a lot of comfort from sitting in silence together, and that has its place. But in order for us to experience a real connection, words must be present or at least have been/will be present in the relationship at some time! Words connect us, one human being to another.

Twice recently people I know and respect have said dismissively, "I don't understand how people have time to read!" One added that she also didn't understand (read :looked down upon as less than) people who blog. She certainly didn't have time for either reading or writing!

How tragic. Possibly, it is just a generation gap. She is much older than I. As for the other person, he laughingly admitted that it was really a matter of preference not time. That person spends much of his time avoiding people and relationships through Sudoku, Solitaire and other solo electronic pursuits. Perhaps he just has lower social needs than I have. shrug At least he is open-minded enough to listen to my perspective and see that I obviously love words and the human connection they represent! I appreciate that he does not feel superior to me because I read and write everyday.

Is it the reading? Is it the writing? Or is it the learning that is my daily thrill? I think it's the learning: learning from others by considering their words, learning about myself by allowing the words to flow from my heart to the outside world (paper or computer keyboard).

Learning, my daily thrill. =) May the joy of learning by yours too, dear readers, as you fill your own days with words: The word of God through writers from days past,the word of God through his people today; the words of humanity in all its various forms and experiences; the words formed by your own heart in response to this rich world of words.

Live (and learn) loved!


  1. Ooh, fabulous description of your style of Being--perhaps I love it because it so exactly sounds like me! I could have written nearly every word (I would change the Bible to mostly fiction and add that I am sad that since my bout with hypoadrenia, which affected my mind so badly, it takes me so long to write well that I can't post every day--but, oh how I wish I could!)

    In the midst of my eternal reading/learning frenzy, my kids have occasionally begged me to quit reading/googling. As you know, I started blogging out of just such a suggestions for Lent. Now at Midsummer, I am realizing that I have used reading/learning as an escape, perhaps my own addiction to cope with the religious addictions and fundamentalisms I grew up with and always found myself in even after I left Christianity.

    Obviously there is great good in reading/writing/learning so I certainly am not going to pursue an "abstinence only" approach to this possible addiction. But I have agreed for the summer to limit my reading to subscribed blogs and news headlines--no books, magazines, websites or e-books--and what is assigned for my study group.

    Yeah, I haven't yet made it a whole day without sneaking into a book or website. And I don't see that as a wholly bad thing. After all, I have no intention of never reading, but of finding more balance for myself in the time I spend in the world of ideas vs the time I spend actually being WITH my kids. I always thought I spent a lot of time with them compared to lots of the families we know--even some other homeschooling families--but apparently the kids have felt abandoned in my pursuit of my own learning.

    So we'll see how it goes and what I learn from this experience. I do know I look eagerly to the day when I can pick up a book--and I have a stack already waiting--but that I am also really enjoying more fun with the kids this summer than I have this last school year.

    (P.S. This in no way constitutes an implication that I think you read or research too much. It is simply a description of how things are playing out for me and is not meant to be a reflection of anyone else's experience.)

  2. Listening to those closest to you as the best learning ever! Our families have so much to share and teach if we will give them our focused attention. Mine are older than yours- one is away for a month for her own learning adventure, while the other is down at the neighborhood pool hanging out with other teens.

    But I am about to go sit in on another World Cup game with my husband. I will no doubt be reading at least part of that time, though. How much depends on how intense the game is, who is playing and the witty factor of the commercials. =)

  3. Are World Cup commercials the new Superbowl halftime? I was watching old commercials from the 60s and 70s on YouTube, feeling nostalgic, and my 13yo heaved a sigh, "I wish they made commercials like these nowadays! These are like their own little shows". I had to agree that even the best commercials today--Superbowl commercials--just don't have the same quality as shorts bits of theater that advertising used to be even through the 80s.

  4. Reading each day, especially the Bible, is such an enrichment to our lives, I agree. Enjoying Every Day Life is such a great and inspiring magazine :}. I get that one, too. I just finished a really good book about the roots of the church and how to get back to basics called, "The Gathering." It's easy to read and understand yet very thorough and well thought out.

  5. The next theology on my list is something like "The Problem of Good and Evil" by Greg Boyd (a reader recommend from my blog), Pagan Christianity co-authored by Frank Viola and I'm still slogging through Kierkegaard. But I will happily add Teh Gathering to the list. Thanks for the recommendation!

    I am in love with the Word of God. Jesus is the incarnation of the Word (I John 1:1 "which our hands have held, the Word of Life" ) (During my time in the Charismatic world, I loved the difference between the words "logos" and "rhema". =)

    Jesus is not just a man I read about, or a God that religion has told me about. He is the One who answered when *I* called, the "God who sees me" and the One who revealed Himself to me.

    For all those who have not had a personal time where Jesus answered their hearts cry in a way that only God could, keep crying out.

    As for me, it is solely because of my personal experience that I believe and could never not believe. The whole Bible could be proven fraud and it would not shake my faith at all, because I have a living relationship with the Living Word. It is real. Undisputable. Intensely personal.

    I had a friend who walked away from Christianity. In our last time together (didn't know I was about to get dumped) she tried to get me to "explain" certain contradictions that adherents to another faith were showing her. I didn't even try.

    I told her that my faith was built on a very simple truth. I called on the name of Jesus and He answered me. He answered me in a way (which has become a recurring event now) that only God could pull off. Nothing could change my personal experience with Jesus.

    I guess she didn't have any such personal experience. She unilaterally ended our friendship and left the faith. :(

    But if one has not had such a personal revelation from God, then they have only been manipulated to put their faith in someone else's personal experience: the apostle Paul's or maybe their pastor's experience.

    If God is real (and I believe He is) then He will really answer each seeker in a way that leaves no room for doubt. That everyone who claims to know Him has not had such an experience puzzles me, because I know that God IS love. I am not a Calvinist. I know that the God I have known (in such small part) does not withhold His love from any true seeker.

    It's a mystery.

    But thanks for the kudos on being a life-long learner. I know kinesthetic learners grow in l life-long learning by doing: remodeling, taking up new sports, volunteering in new places. The musical auditory learners will learn new songs, genres, compose music perhaps take up new instruments as part of their life-long learning adventure. Visual learners will constantly redecorate, create art, seek new vistas, visit museums for new inspiration, take care with hair, make-up and wardrobe until the day the die.

    And auditory learners, like me, who love words (I actually read aloud in my head as I type or read) will keep reading and writing as a way of life. It brings me joy, and is part of who I am. I will not be shamed by others who experience life differently.

    ¡Viva libertad! ¡Viva la diferencia!