Sunday, November 20, 2005

Aaaauuuggghhh!

<Sigh> After years of internal grousing that I seemed to have some worthwhile insights, but no real outlet for them, I finally figured out that blogging might actually provide one. You'd think a programmer would have figured that out sooner.

So, I set up a blog on here, and five and a half months later, we have......well, essentially nothing. One post about my score on the Theological Worldview Quiz and one unfinished post on miscommunication. This is not looking impressive.

I guess part of my problem is a combination of time and my writing style. I'm not the kind of writer who zips something off the top of the head in 5 minutes - I'm more the brooding over every word type who grinds things out slowly but (hopefully) precisely. Worse, I tend to be verbose. Hence, if I'm going to sit down and write a post, I want to feel that I've got a fair block of time to work with. Unfortunately, fair blocks of time have been in short supply for the past few months, what with a late project at work chewing up all spare time. Happily, that project is no longer chewing up time, and spare fair blocks of time are popping up again.

A bit of introduction is probably in order. As you can see from the profile, I'm a computer programmer (been at it for almost 30 years) whose college degree sports a Bible major. Basically, I started at Asbury College with a mindset that pretty much equated a Bible major with General Studies. Half-way through college, I discovered computers, and essentially felt that I'd found what I was made for. As Asbury didn't have a Computer Science major at the time, but did have a minor, I ended up finishing with a BA in Bible, with a Computer Science minor (and following it up with a good bit of self-teaching in CS). The result is a technical type with at least enough theological education to be dangerous.

I've got most of the influences you'd probably expect from a conservative/evangelical Christian with a technical bent. The writings of C. S. Lewis ranks high in the list, along with Francis Schaeffer and G. K. Chesterton. The programming background is also an influence. As a programmer, I'm used to dealing with systems for which I have only partial information, which gives me a different outlook on a Systematic Theology approach (which, from my viewpoint, sometimes has the weakness of assuming that we already have all of the necessary information to see a system in its fullness). But one of my major influences is that I tend to be heavily communications/listening oriented. Listening for what a person is trying to say, even if the way they express it would normally suggest something different to you, even if their background and assumptions are different than (or even contrary to) yours, is something that ranks pretty high in my set of values. As is probably typical for someone with that kind of emphasis, I've developed an ear for those little clues that indicate that miscommunication is likely to be occurring. And somewhere along the line, I've learned to apply those skills when approaching Scripture. You might say I tend to approach Scripture first as a listener, and secondarily as a studier. I've found that it makes a difference, and hope to be posting some of the insights that come from that difference here.

As a listener, I'll welcome feedback on what I post (for one thing, it'll give me another chance to listen). I typically need feedback to develop new insights. With my skillsets, I sometimes have people say I ought to be a teacher (e.g., teaching in Sunday School/Bible Study group or the like), but I've found that if I sit down and try to plan out a lesson, I don't do too well. Sit me down as a participant in a Bible Study group, though, let me listen to the rest of the group and I have no problems adding to the discussion. I seem to need the interaction to figure out where the knowledge or communication holes are in a group, at which point I can help fill in those holes. Part of the reason I'm doing this blog is to try to help get past that need, but the feedback will still be welcome.

3 comments:

Whyte Stonne said...

Hi, Oloryn,

I especially value two of the things you wrote here, because I agree with them and have found that I share the sentiments or tendencies with you.

"Listening for what a person is trying to say, even if the way they express it would normally suggest something different to you, even if their background and assumptions are different than (or even contrary to) yours, is something that ranks pretty high in my set of values."

This is essential if Christians are to understand one another and not live in an eternal debate over our ideologies, our doctrine. That continual wrangling is soooo tiresome!

Favorite words of wranglers: combat, contend, warriors, warfare, fight.

"I've found that if I sit down and try to plan out a lesson, I don't do too well. Sit me down as a participant in a Bible Study group, though, let me listen to the rest of the group and I have no problems adding to the discussion. I seem to need the interaction."

I find that over-planning my Bible studies is deadly. I'm much better when we simply open to a chapter and begin talking. I do a lot of questioning, asking questions to stretch people away from what is easy and superficial.

I discovered what I call Paul's desire for "maximum participation" in I Corinthians 14:26-33.

Try creating a "bulletin" or an "order of worship" for that!

Oloryn said...

Whyte:

Thanks for the feedback.

I especially value two of the things you wrote here, because I agree with them and have found that I share the sentiments or tendencies with you.

Having seen some of your posts over on Pulpit Magazine, I'm not surprised. You come across as someone who understands the communication issue.

Favorite words of wranglers: combat, contend, warriors, warfare, fight.

The thing is that we do war, but it's against spiritual forces and the lies they propagate, not against flesh and blood. The trick is understanding how to war against those forces and those lies without turning it into a war against the flesh and blood that have gotten caught up in them.

Whyte Stonne said...

Obviously the flesh kicks in when people use inflammatory language, especially when it's directed at oneself.

I'm not always able to "count to ten" in those circumstances, although being able to edit a response before posting can save you from a lot of unedifying invective.