Info on 2011 Holy Land Pilgrimage

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March 07, 2009


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That is a conversation and a half you got there, Joe!

1.) It is a tricky business these days now that people feel themselves on some level to be manufacturers of their own truth, rather than seekers of a truth they haven't found yet. It puts them in a very different headspace when they sit in the classroom of life. One that isn't ideal for teachability. Public school nurtures this...deeming teacher as facilitator of students' own discovery. In teachers' training we learned it is wrong to simply tell a child an informational fact, we should ask them questions to draw them to the point of self-discovery. Now when it comes to multiplication tables and the dates when the vandals sacked Rome, I categorically disagree with this pedagogical approach. I categorically disagree with this approach in public school for most things. How can a student discover anything when they don't yet know what they don't know?

However since the Garden of Eden, we humans have claimed to be masters of our own truth so on that level, what else is there to do but poke the odd question out in hopes that interest will be piqued enough for a person to decide to allow themselves to be teachable. Wholely unteachable, but the odd moment of self-discovery changes things.

1/2.) On a different note, my experience with some university professors leads me to believe that the practice of thinking longer and more deeply about something doesn't necessarily lead to an enlightened opinion. If the professors have given their heart to the status quo of their subject, their opinions quickly grow stale. This might make room for equality of opinion, as the teacher is often unteachable too. Worse, perhaps, as the unteachability exists on the deeper level.

All that to say in light of "mission", which I believe is where your story is coming from, I think it's really a miracle anyone learns anything in this handbasket. Perhaps God has orchestrated it this way so that all glory goes to him.


You have to be wrong (or ignorant) before you can be taught.

Not to soil your blog with simplistic analogies (ok, that's exactly my intent), but in every kung-fu movie I've ever seen, the first thing the master does is drop the eager student on his not yet humble backside.

For a child, it's generally okay to tell them they are wrong, because a child is still trusting enough to believe you (or small enough to discipline if they demand to cling to the error of their ways).

The first step in making an adult teachable is showing them either that they are wrong, or that they are ignorant.

If a professor really *has* thought longer, and more deeply about something, then let them use the results of that long and deep thought to highlight some area of ignorance or error in the student's thought. Certainly life is not long enough to argue incessantly with every student that comes along, but generally the ones that argue are the ones that care, and they might deserve a few words. At the very least, they can be pointed to a source that will reveal their ignorance.

"I don't have time to argue - read your (insert homework here) and come back; we'll talk."
Gee, what teacher wouldn't love to have students so eager that they come after them for extra work... now that's teachable ;-)

The last thing to do is to get into a meta-argument over who deserves to be right more. Prove it, don't talk about it.


I cheaped out and wrote about this on my own blog. But, I'm left saying the issue isn't about equality of opinion, it's about quality of opinon. In some sense the student was arguing the wrong premise. Everyone get's an opinon, what matters if the opinon is based on something more than just, well, opinion.


I suppose I tend to agree with Socrates in that knowledge of one's own ignorance is a good beginning point. On the moral level, it's equivalent might be akin to recognizing our shortcomings before we can embrace the grace of virtue. Or to put it another way, it was only when the prodigal son recognized his distance from home that he could begin the return journey.

I think that "teachability" goes hand in hand with humility.

Preston Parsons

Can you connect this with mission, as per the previous thread?


I'm thinking, I'm thinking...

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blank stare...

  • Copyright Rev. Joseph Walker, St Timothy's Anglican Church

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