Friday, April 20, 2012

Learning and Unlearning

Friday, April 20, 2012 -- Week of Easter 2

Readings for the Daily Office (Book of Common Prayer, p. 959)
Psalms  16, 17 (morning)        //        134, 135 (evening)
Exodus 16:22-36
1 Peter 3:13 - 4:6
John 16:1-15  

[Go to for an online version of the Daily Office including today's scripture readings.]

"I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now."  (John 16:12)

It is part of our condition of ignorance and finitude that we don't know now what we don't yet know.  I can think back to times when I had very different perspectives on some things that are important to me now. 

There is one whole category of changed perspectives that emerges from my critical reflection about things that I inherited from my family of origin and my culture. 

There is another category that seems to come from my growing beyond the need to belong and to identify with the values of groups that I have associated with.  After learning "what we believe" in order to belong, I've let go of some of those beliefs when they didn't hold up for me.

A physician friend of mine remembers a teacher telling the first-year students in medical school that 90% of what he'll teach them will be wrong by the time they finish their service as doctors, the problem is, he doesn't know which 90% it is.

So we move about in faith, trusting our best sense about things, but ready and open to surrender our notions as soon as some better knowledge comes to us. 

There is a positive and a negative road to travel here. 

The old proverb says "when the student is ready, the teacher will come."  We need to nurture our positive "hunger and thirst for righteousness," for deeper truth and fuller perspective. 

But there is also the need to jettison old ideas and attachments that no longer work.  I think it was Teresa of Avila who said something like, "God in mercy never makes us aware of our sin until God has also given us the grace to confess it."

I don't know now what I don't know, but God grant me the courage to turn away from my falseness whenever the Spirit of truth comes and guides me into new truth, no matter how scary or humbling it may seem.


Audio podcast:  Listen to an audio podcast of the most recent Morning Reflections from today and the past week.  Go to:
About Morning Reflections
"Morning Reflections" is a brief thought about the scripture readings from the Daily Office of Morning and Evening Prayer according to the practice found in the Book of Common Prayer of the Episcopal Church.

Morning Prayer begins on p. 80 of the Book of Common Prayer.
Evening Prayer begins on p. 117
An online resource for praying the Daily Office is found at

Another form of the office from Phyllis Tickle's "Divine Hours" is available on our partner web site at this location

The Mission of St. Paul's Episcopal Church
is to explore and celebrate
God's infinite grace, acceptance, and love.

See our Web site at

Our Rule of Life: 
We aspire to...
    worship weekly
    pray daily
    learn constantly
    serve joyfully 
    live generously.

Lowell Grisham, Rector
St. Paul's Episcopal Church
Fayetteville, Arkansas


At 12:54 PM, Blogger Chris Lynch said...

It is amazing to me how often things that seem so important today, end up being a lot less important a week, a month, or a few months later. Great observations Lowell! Thank you.


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