I enrolled in the Kairos Condensed World Missions Course that was being conducted at church. When Doctor Dan told me about this months ago, I said I was going to enrol because I missed out on this before. The course is a week-long in-depth study of the biblical basis of missions, and, from a macro point of view, understanding the over-all plan and purpose of God. When I went to IBC this Monday, there were about 20 of us in the room. I happen to be, as has always been the case, one of the youngest. After the first lecture, we were required to read about 20 pages on the first topic. Part of why I love studying is because I love reading. And studying requires a lot of reading. The volume of reading isn’t really intimidating, given you prioritize and set apart a time to do the work assignments.
Now, I said I love being a student because I love learning new things. Part of learning is accepting some things, and challenging others. But there always has to be a way to do both. In our class, there are two people (a German and a Filipino middle-aged lady), who always raise their hands at every given opportunity.
I have nothing against that, and I think they have a right to question. But the context was, we were only being briefed on the outline of the course, and all of a sudden they were asking questions like, “why is this related with that? I don’t see the connection”, “Excuse me, this is wrong”, “Where does Israel fit here?” and on and on. With them aggressively asking away, I could see many people feeling a little uncomfortable. We’re in for a long night with these two people who think they know everything. But the thing that really got to me was when they started asking about the connection of this particular lesson, to this particular truth. I had to butt in.
I raised my hand and quietly said, “the whole purpose of us being here is so we can learn, step-by-step, process-by-process, the whole course. We cannot expect to learn everything right away. It’s like us trying to learn World History and cram it in a day. Or say, Fractions in Math. We have to divide the parts of learning and not get the WHOLE of it right then and there, for very obvious reasons like time, energy. Let’s get through the first day and take on from there.”
The others nodded.
I mean, I guess they were probably excited and so they wanted to learn everything right away, but you would agree with me that even in school, we don’t get all the concepts in one sitting! That is ridiculous! The German is very notorious in church for exactly that behaviour he showed during the class. I think if I analyze it, it’s a frustration on his part that apparently, he knows too much and nobody else knows as much as he does. He likes to challenge people all the time, questioning every little statement people make, but this attitude borders on self-righteousness and plain arrogance. If you know this much, good for you. Now let others learn as well, and don’t overvalue yourself. Give everyone the chance to learn for themselves. I know someone like this in college. To her, she’s always right. Everything she says is worth challenging, and people who differ in their views should be taught right away.
To this kind, I can only say: don’t be too narrow-minded. Open yourself to the truth that people learn in so many different ways, and just because they don’t think the way you do DOES NOT MEAN they’re wrong.
Now on my third day in the course, I only pray we will not lose focus on the main thing, which is to learn about God’s plan for missions. The distractions, I fear, are here to stay, but that’s okay: it comes with the learning –to learn how to be patient, understanding, even tolerant.