Monday, October 02, 2006

Teaching Theory without Experience

The older I get, the less certain it seems I am. I thought it would be the other way around. In my 20's I knew everything. Now, in my 40's, I often feel clueless. Could this be that what I held to be true in the past had never really been tested in the realm of faith? Now that I am at a point in life where my faith really matters, or at least seems to be called upon in a more relevant way, I am getting the opportunity to decide what I want to believe and what I want to discard as irrelevant. Take this song that I wrote back in 1994 as a theme for a student retreat titled, Uncharted Waters. The idea we tried to communicate was trusting God in the unknown. I wrote these lyrics in theory. They did not flow from any personal experience, only out of what I hoped to be true, or what I was taught to be true. UNCHARTED WATERS ©Kevin Shinn, 2006 [click here for mp3] Set to sail, It's time to board On a lifelong journey we can't afford The trip is set, the plans are made We need not worry, the cost is paid He will lead us through uncharted waters He will lead us deep into the sea Knowing all the time the treasures we will find Are waiting for us only if we go. What will we face as we explore Away from safety of the shore Teach us, Lord, if we fear change Nothing ventured nothing gained The winds of worry, the storms of doubt The Prince of Darkenss toss us about But our Captain, faithful and true Will protect us and lead us through I listened to this song again last week and was struck by my naievte. I think I wrote Truth, but Truth that had never been tested. This is why I envy guys who can teach. I can't ever imagine not being haunted by this question, "Do I really know what the hell I'm talking about?" The notion that experience was anything we could rely on was grilled into me as evil. Truth is truth, regardless of experience, but thinking this way made me conflicted. The little choo-choo train diagram set me up for derailment. I became an engineer of ideas that I could not back up from experience. If I ever found myself in combat, I would feel better about following the guy who has actually been shot at than the guy who wrote three books on warfare, but never aimed a gun in his life. I was on my way to being the latter.

1 comment:

Blythe Lane said...


Good questions, good thoughts. There seems to be this tension between truth experienced and the truth that -- the kind of truth I know has to be true but I've never tasted it. Over the last several years, I've been wondering, if I haven't experienced truth worked out in my life is it still real? I'm leaning more towards it is real, but I want my life to be an authentic display of His truth...even if that means I haven't actually experienced that aspect of truth...

Don't mean to blog on your blog. :-) Love the questions you're asking and am sure enjoying the musings.