Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Learning Something New

I love getting exercise (no surprise to you if you know me), and I find running therapeutic.  Honestly, when I go running, it's usually because I need to.  Partly because I've become an endorphin junkie, partly because it's my quiet time with God, partly because it's the only time when I have the patience to listen to sermons, and partly because of the physical challenge, but I need my runs.

As we've been blasted with snow lately, running just hasn't been my preferred option.  Sure, I could run, and some of my colleagues don't let a foot of snow keep them from running outside, but I'm just not into wet feet and slipping and sliding (and the potential for injury).  So I've been trying cross country skiing.

Though I've done it a few times before, it's really something new for me.  I had to figure out how to dress for it (hint: treat it like a run; otherwise, I'll overheat immediately!); I had to figure out where to go (there are some very nice trails nearby, but getting there is the issue), and I had to figure out how far is a decent workout.  But even more important than those has been this: I'm figuring out what motions are best.  I found that if I pick up the skis (in a running motion), I can go a little faster in the short term, but it has been causing a snow build-up on the underside of the skis, which, in turn, slows me down when I try to slide the skis (even downhill). So I have to learn how to move most efficiently.

This is something that carries over to all of life.  Whether we like it or not (or recognize it or not), things are changing.  If nothing else, every day we're all one day older.  Technology is changing things faster than ever. And life and ministry requires us to develop new strategies.  Sometimes what seemed to work before doesn't really work anymore, and what seemed most efficient isn't anymore.  Sometimes making assumptions (like I, who assumed that a running motion would be faster on the skis) just leaves us bogged down.

This is especially true for the church, who sometimes gets bogged down in "the way we've always done it."  I'm not talking about church tradition (United Methodists base our belief primarily in the Bible, but we acknowledge that we interpret the scriptures largely through our reason, experience, and tradition); tradition is rich and beautiful and helps connect us with years of Christians who have gone before us, and tradition helps us from making the same mistakes made by those who went before us.  I'm talking about an "this is how we've always done it" attitude. 

What are some methods that might need updating in your life?


John said...

One of my New Year's resolutions is to learn a new computer skill every working day for the year. Sometimes it's as simple as a new social networking utility, and sometimes it's a new function in MS Publisher. Every morning when I arrive at work, I make a to-do list. "computer skill" is always on it. If I don't cross it off, I haven't done it.

If you're not moving ahead in computer technology, you're falling behind.

The Thief said...

That's a really solid resolution, John. You're right on the money with computer technology. It moves ahead so quickly that sometimes even when I feel like I'm moving ahead, I'm still falling behind.

Big Mama said...

I'll try this again: Whoaaa, Good analogy. I, too, am learning new computer skills mostly so I don't stagnate. have a set of tutorial CDs that I am going through. Even the first lesson, I learned so much of the Word program. It was really fun. Now i am learning Publisher--and it is beginning to become not so ugly! I had to do this one cause my Home Publishing program just up and died on me!! Woe is ME!