Recently there were a number of things that converged in my thinking.
The first was an open group discussion earlier this month about some of the things James writes about in his epistle. As we were discussing the third chapter it struck me very forcibly that the various things James writes about the tongue and its influence could be profitably seen in the context of the opening verse of that chapter. Those that teach need to be aware that the things said; from a platform, or in a less formal setting; can have long-lasting and significant impact. James uses the pictures of: directing a horse, steering an ocean vessel, kindling a forest fire.
The second converging item came in an online post touching on Job’s three friends, and the thought that perhaps (contrary to how we often picture things) there was a large audience for the long and detailed debate that occupies most of the book. The author of this post suggested that the three friends came from three geographically separate places; were likely wealthy; and would in all probability have come with a large retinue. The writer’s emphasis in this post was for the most part on the need for the “teacher” to be prepared and to “teach” with skill and preparation. (I’m confident the author of the post will pardon my overly simplistic description of his post!)
The third converging item was my picking up my iPad, opening the Kindle app, and reading one of the books that I have there. It is titled “Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that can’t stop talking”. The author is Susan Cain.
I have enjoyed reading this book. It is late summer here in Oshawa, and it was nice to be able to recline in a lawn-chair in our back yard, watch the birds enjoying the birdbath, and spend some time reading.
I have finished the book, and I regret some aspects of it; but have, nevertheless, found it a worthwhile read. It is a quite large and somewhat scholarly book dealing with extroverts, introverts, sensitivity, and so on. I believe it has been a profitable read, and in many ways challenging.
What can I take away from it? First of all, that there can be a wide variety of teaching styles. Some are low-key, thoughtful, backed by extensive research and study; some are more focussed on “buzz” as the author would comment. Second, that there can be a wide variety of learning styles; of roughly the same spectrum as teaching. Third, where do I fit in? And, do I need to modify anything in my life on account of these things?