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Tuesday, 10 September 2013

Sabbatical Lesson #1: Learning often starts in a fog

The fog of facts
Most learning experiences - in their early stages - are like 'walking in fog'. You are surrounded by facts of all kinds and cannot yet see the wood for the trees. If you are learning a new language, for example, you are surrounded by a new alphabet, a new grammar and new vocabulary. You can't yet read and you have so many unanswered questions. You could easily give up and many do....

At the moment I am surrounded by hundreds of documents of one kind or another. There are old
photographs from the foothills of the Himalayas, letters written by hand on China-paper "Air Letters" or "Aerograms", prayer letters and information forms, all spanning some 60 years.

It will take two weeks just to read them all, digest them and make notes. Only then will it be possible to write.

The process of writing itself clears the fog. Someone once said something like this (even Google doesn't know the exact quote):

   Reading maketh a broad man
   Writing maketh a clear man

(The quote also said something about the effect of speaking "Speaking maketh a ...... man" but I can't remember now what). 

The point is that as you write, the fog of facts in your mind has to come out linearly and sequentially and so the very act of writing begins to clear the fog.

Of course more is at work when you are trying to write a book whose main aim is to edify and challenge the church. It must be a prayerful work as much as a clear one.

The lesson is....... perseverance in all things.

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