The Jesus Creed blog by Scot McKnight posted the popular “A Little Exercise For Young Theologians.” I thought I would use this post as a launching pad for the purpose and mission of the VIAlogue blog, and, as always, make some comments and pose some questions regarding McKnight’s thoughts, which I have an appreciation for.
I completely concur with McKnight’s emphasis to listen, be wise, consult with other friends (and close ones at that), and blog with an open hand and an open mind. Opinions and ideas, and especially passions change and develop over time. Maturation, cynicism, critical thinking are all part of the growing up process. The VIAlogue page has been written to express those values.
And so along those lines, it seems appropriate that this post would highlight McKnight’s post, but also suggest that there is a paradox here regarding youth and wisdom that I believe needs to be given a bit of attention. And, as I read through the comments on the Jesus Creed blog, and the pingbacks, I’ve been intrigued with how well received this post was by so many, which suggests that the paradox (that I’m about to share) may be slipping in this new age of connectedness and blogging. Of course, some things will never change, and the cycle of life will continue to perpetuate itself. But as the mediums of communication are rapidly changing, so are we as humans changing in how we interact, relate, and evolve.
THE PARADOX OF WISDOM: FIRST-HAND AND/OR SECOND-HAND
Everyone knows (or perhaps that’s too much of a grand assumption) that wisdom is best acquired by “learning from others’ mistakes.” Yet we also know (again, perhaps presumptuously) that the best way to learn is by making your own. And it is perhaps accurate to say that those who say that the best way to grow is by “learning from others’” are those very same people who have made their own mistakes, thus coming to the conclusion, “Geez, I really wish I had learned the other way.”
So, when McKnight shares his wisdom, and especially the phrase, “Had I been blogging 25 years ago…” I can’t help but wonder, “Is that because there weren’t blogs back then?” or did McKnight really have that kind of restraint 25 years ago? Were there other outlets that he expressed himself in that he does regret? Is it simply the venue/medium of blogging that makes passionate expression different? It would seem to me a given (and I admit the presumptuousness of this) that all people who engage in anything of interest express youthful passion in ways that they regret in later years. And it is this very “all inclusiveness” of this phenomena that highlights the paradox of wisdom. I’m sure everyone could point to dozens of examples in friends and acquaintances, and hundreds of examples in their own lives.
THE DOUBLE RING
Again, as I read through the comments and the pingbacks, I was delightfully surprised at the receptivity and the adherence to the ethic. And, because of our now deeply interconnectedness, perhaps the paradox is sliding/shifting, or in other ways being altered. Perhaps young people really are learning, once again, from older generations and are heeding their words of wisdom. Perhaps older generations really are not as obsolete as postmodernity and evolving technologies tell us. Or perhaps both are happening at the same time.
I first learned of “double-rings” from Leonard Sweet, (view the video here). Since then, I’ve come to observe this phenomena more, and this post and issue is no different. In other words, people are making more and more mistakes through this avenue of blogging, while at the same time listening and reading more and more of other’s wisdom. With that, McKnight’s post is a great contribution to this reality.
I’ll close with something perhaps too philosophical and ambiguous.
THOSE WHO ARE NOW WISE WERE ONCE FOOLS, AND THOSE WHO WISH TO BE WISE MAY NEVER HAVE BEEN FOOLS IN THE FIRST PLACE. PERHAPS THOSE WHO ARE FOOLS WILL THEN ALWAYS BE, AND THOSE WHO ARE WISE WILL ALWAYS BE BECOMING.