Reflections from Pastor Kim
“…let the wise also hear and gain in learning, and the discerning acquire skill,… "
I am a lifetime learner. There has never been a time in my life that I can remember not wanting to know more about, well, anything! Now, this can be both a blessing and a curse. It means I know just enough about just about everything to be a bit dangerous. It also means that I have spent many nights in my life (still do) reading way too late into the night, which leaves me a little bleary eyed for the day to come. This need to continue to learn has included learning more about scripture, the Church, and my role in the midst of that.
One thing that fascinates me is to read scripture and then dig into the context of what was going on at the time it was written. Why was this story important to the people of the time. What was the original words in which it was written? Do they mean the same thing today? Did the story have an ulterior motive or is it clearly directed by God? So very many different things to dig into.
“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction.”
Perhaps the hardest thing I’ve found to do with knowledge is to relearn something. An example would be to dive into new knowledge and then discern how that effects what I already know to be true, then draw new and informed conclusions to add to the knowledge bank. The longer I’ve had the base knowledge, the harder it is to think of the topic or situation in a different light. Let’s think on the familiar Birth of Christ story. In our youth as we are building the foundation of our faith, all the events of the Birth of Christ happen in one night, right? That is, according to the annual Christmas pageant! When we begin to age and read scripture ourselves, what an onslaught of emotion there is when we realize that our Christmas pageant story actually comes from more than one story. Then as we get older and the realization hits that not all the Gospel writers felt the “Birth of Christ” was worthy of inclusion, but instead focused on the life and ministry of Christ, there’s another hiccup. At that point there is yet another gut punch to our faith, or at least a realization that we may need to dig deeper; learn more.
“An intelligent mind acquires knowledge, and the ear of the wise seeks knowledge.”
What I’ve found to be particularly helpful in my journey of lifelong learning, is having people to bounce my thoughts off of as I wonder about what I’ve been learning. That includes colleagues, friends, small groups and educators in many different levels and genres. If I just lean on my own understanding, I miss the depth of meaning in nearly every topic known to man. When it comes to scripture, in my mind and life, it is essential to have those folks in my life who I can question, safely debate with, and in all things, learn together.
“Give instruction to the wise, and they will become wiser still; teach the righteous and they
will gain in learning.”
How about you? How do you learn best? No matter what age you are as you read this, your faith can deepen. Whether you are young, middle-aged, or in your golden years, deepening your faith is still very important. How we read and understand the Living Word throughout our lives, is indeed the “Living” part of the Word. Our age, our experiences and our culture all plays a part in how we experience that Living Word. Though it is timeless, it speaks to the people of every age, in every age. All of us can use someone to bounce our learnings off of, to help us discern is we are hearing what we think we are hearing.
How are you working towards learning more about scripture? What about learning to deepen your faith? I’d love to have a chat with you about how we can work on those things together. Feel free to contact me at any time to dive a bit deeper or to chat about what tools I may be able to offer for your faith journey.
Above all – DON’T STOP LEARNING!
Be blessed, be a blessing, and take someone with you on the journey!
Reflections from Pastor Kim
Who are you? Who, who, who, who?
Who are you? Who, who, who, who?
I really wanna know (Who are you? Who, who, who, who?)
Tell me, who are you? (Who are you? Who, who, who, who?)
These iconic lyrics were released by The Who on August 18, 1978. Some of us of a certain generation (ahem!) have memories of this song being released, and maybe even who we danced with Homecoming 1978 to this tune. Yet there is another generation who doesn’t attribute their memory of this song to an album, 8-track or cassette (gasp!). That generation remembers sitting down to watch a hip crime/police drama on or after September 23, 2002. From the TV set that song called folks from all corners of the house to watch the intro of that week’s show. They just HAD to see what zinger (even when it was corny) that Horatio Caine expressed as he slid those Ray Bans back on his face. Same song, same artists, different lens. Yet the song is known by millions.
There are similarities to our memories of songs, events, or people in the church, just as there are to the great pull of the secular world. We remember singing “Amazing Grace” at Hildebrand’s funeral, and doing a scavenger hunt during Youth Group our sophomore year. We remember a pastor who could make goose bumps jump onto the whole rooms arms as she sang “What Wondrous Love Is This”, and the nausea those same folks felt as another pastor surprised them with his original rendition of “When We All Get to Heaven.” Our memories are precious and remind us that we have a rich heritage which brought us to where we are today. Those memories also inform us of what and who we have been as this part of the Body of Christ known as Oakland UMC. What memories don’t inform us of is who we are now; in this minute, in this place, in the shelter of the Most High, discerning who calls us NOW.
So, who are we? This is a question we MUST ask ourselves repeatedly and continually. Hopefully at least part of the answer takes the following into consideration.
“You are the salt of the earth; but if salt has lost its taste, how can its saltiness be
restored? It is no longer good for anything, but is thrown out and trampled underfoot. You
are the light of the world. A city built on a hill cannot be hid. No one after lighting a lamp
puts it under the bushel basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all in the house. In
the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give
glory to your Father in heaven.”
Matthew 5:13-16 NRSV
If the world shifts under our feet, either literally or figuratively, we have an obligation to work even harder to not loose our “saltiness.” When we’ve been hurt physically, mentally, spiritually, or emotionally, we have those around us who keep oil in the lamp and keep it high about the destruction to ensure it’s longevity. When we find that God’s call might look or sound different than it did even yesterday, we come together to figure out our place in the Body of Christ.
That’s where we are at, friends! We are in a place of exploration. Seeking God’s call on Oakland UMC in this time and place; to continue that exploration in the years to come. Just as God does not call us at the age of three in the same way as at eighty-three, God does not Oakland UMC in the same way today, as he did in the decades before. Over the last sixteen months or so the world has tilted. Regardless our viewpoint in anything which occurred during that time, today is different than this same date in 2019 or 2020.
So, who are we in the midst of, and in addition to this? That’s what we’ll be exploring in the weeks and months to come. What we know for sure is that we are part of the Family of God and the Body of Christ. Called to fulfill the Great Commission to make disciples. Together we move forward to seek the movement and leading of the Holy Spirit in fulfilling this. We sing a song of praise familiar to our ears – it is the one we sing in response to God’s call to a new day, sung for the faithful. To God be the glory! Be blessed, be a blessing, and take someone on the journey with you!
Pastor Kim Dewey