Learning for the sake of wonder

We live in a golden age of learning. The access we have to ideas, cultures, and religions is unprecedented. At no other time in history has it been easier to be a student. Yet, so much of this is scrolled past. Along with this deluge of information comes a recoil. We instinctively back away and hide in what is familiar. If given the choice between sitting through a dense defense of a particular idea or scrolling through a personalized stream of pretty faces or funny quips, not many people will choose the former.

The reason why we shy away from these fountains of knowledge is not the point of this post. Rather, I would like to highlight a few platforms where those who are interested can find many choices to hear a different point of view, learn a new skill or subject, or broaden their knowledge base.

  1. Youtube – the largest and most comprehensive video collection in the universe. There are some great channels out there which have genuinely helped me to see the world in a different way. Some of my favorites:

Smarter Every Day

Bible Project

CS Lewis Doodle

  1. Great Courses – This company has gathered some of the best teachers in the world to teach some of the most interesting topics. Their catalogue is extensive, and the cost can be steep, however we get the Audible courses which are in audio only but come with PDF materials. The cost of each course then is never more than the cost of one credit which can be as low as $12. I also buy them whenever they are on sale (as low as $2-$3). A couple of my favorites have been:

Anything by Elizabeth Vandiver (mostly classics and myths)

Espionage and Covert Operations: A Global History

Customs of the World: Using Cultural Intelligence to Adapt, Wherever You Are

  1. Udemy – People are able to upload their own courses, so not the level of professionalism as the Great Courses, but still some great content. They regularly have sales on the courses so you can try them out and see if you like the format. A benefit of this approach over the Great Courses and Youtube is that there are forums and other ways to interact with the teachers and fellow students.

  2. Logos – I use Logos every singe day, and firmly believe that any believer who has a phone, tablet, or computer should have Logos. They give away free books or courses every month, and I have a pretty good catalogue of courses that I work through in 15 minute segments every day. I like the ability to be able to do so much with my other Logos resources right with the course. The videos are simple and professional, and they have some excellent teachers.

  • Their Logos Training – Study the Bible with Logos is a great help to figure out basic Bible study with modern tools

  • I really enjoyed Pennington’s NT301 The Gospels as Ancient Biography course

We live in an incredible universe. Everywhere we look we can see bits of creation that should really take our breathe away, if we only had the eyes to see. I keep learning because I want to be amazed again. Some of these teachers have helped me see something I had regularly overlooked. I hope one or two of these options open your eyes too.

A relational God

A couple of months ago, a non-believing friend told me that he loves Greek mythology more than Old Testament stories because Greek gods and goddesses have human personality traits that make them relatable. Zeus is stormy. Hera is manipulative and difficult. Athena plays favorites. “Holiness is too strange,” he said. “I don’t understand it. I don’t want to be close to a shapeless fire on a mountain.” In this moment, I realized the relational importance of the incarnated Christ because in Jesus, we see a compression of divine emotional complexity. In him, we find a fiery Lord who turns over tables in a temple, a tender Lord who weeps with the weeping, a gentle Lord who welcomes little children, a weary Lord who sleeps, and an introverted Lord who needs time alone. We also find a Lord who sometimes wants to quit and go home. “Let this cup pass from me,”[5] he prayed—wishing for a way out that would not come. Here, Jesus gives us a beautiful example of authentic prayer—showing us that we don’t have to go skipping and grinning into every loss we face. We can cry out. We can weep. We can be honest with the Father about all of our feelings before we come at last to “Not my will, but thine.”[6] It’s okay for that process to be a monumental battle for us because it was a monumental battle for Jesus. You have a High Priest who is able to empathize. You can talk to him straight.

Wisdom

A shade of sorrow passed over Taliesin’s face. ‘There are those,’ he said gently, ‘who must first learn loss, despair, and grief. Of all paths to wisdom, this is the cruelest and longest. Are you one who must follow such a way? This even I cannot know. If you are, take heart nonetheless. Those who reach the end do more than gain wisdom. As rough wool becomes cloth, and crude clay a vessel, so do they change and fashion wisdom for others, and what they give back is greater than what they won.
Lloyd Alexander, The High King (The Chronicles of Prydain #5)

The Holy Spirit

The Holy Spirit, in his indwelling, in his influences, and in his fruits, is the sum of all grace, holiness, comfort and joy. In one word, the Holy Spirit is the entire spiritual good that Christ purchased for men in this world. The Holy Spirit is also the sum of all perfection, glory, and eternal joy that he purchased for them in eternity.

  • Jonathan Edwards