I am nearing my trek through Seth Godin’s Linchpin. One of the ways Godin has prodded me is with his suggestion that many keep what they are thinking to themselves out of fear of what the “teacher” might say. He contends the “lizard brain” resists innovation and is driven by fear. So about the time someone has a good idea, the lizard brain convinces us, through a variety of excuses, to bury the dream.
For many in my vocation questions represent a fault line along which it is perilous to travel. That is, if we begin to ask questions ourselves. And really some would contend it is not a matter of asking questions that is the bad instead it is instead being unprepared with the “right answer.” Many times people then choose to simply keep the questions to themselves. With no safe place in which to comfortably ask questions and pushing for something other than the “approved” answer, many wither from the inside.
Over the years I have found some safe places to question and think through a variety of responses. These friends are occasionally on someone’s “unapproved” list. I was once asked about articles and authors to which I linked on my website as if to say, “What are you doing?!” Linking does not mean univocal agreement. My lurker turned questioner preferred to draw his own conclusions and make certain judgments rather than have an open conversation; a conversation that may have well benefited the both of us as we learned together.
Learning, however, was not the objective. The goal instead was to draw a line and contend I had somehow crossed it without so much as a fair hearing. I am not looking for sympathy. Rather the point is to say some are locked so tight into their own understandings they defy the occasion to both listen for the Spirit as well as take the obvious opportunity to learn with another.
I have long been interested in learning. Looking back I often wonder if it is not living with an engineer, my Dad. Always interested in thinking through how things work and how we know has long been a part of me of which I am self-aware. For the past number of years I have been dreaming. What would it be like to create spaces for learning? Safe spaces to ask questions. Safe spaces to think collaboratively and collegially – something I find at work in the Scriptures. Think the Apostle Paul’s learning experiences not to mention Peter’s recalibration of the way the world works under the reign of Christ.
So, with that long introduction. Here is something of the dream for theological education on demand presented at Theology After Google.