On learning and depth

Once upon a VBS, I memorized the 15 judges of Israel, the 10 plagues, the books of the OT and NT, and more.  I’m glad I had that opportunity.

I remember VBS — which now seems largely passé to me as an enterprise, given cultural shifting — as a vital part of the church summer, with lots of activity and devoted teachers and Kool-Aid™ and cookies.

Once upon a college Bible course — in my junior year at Harding University — I listened to the late Avon Malone teach and share based on the so-called “general letters” (James, the Peters, and Jude).  I’m glad I could learn from this man.

I remember Malone as a storehouse of tidbits and cross-references.  I wrote notes in the margins of my then-new, wide-margin NASB like nobody’s business.  I glowed with newfound Bible knowledge.  Others at Harding were a bit more ambitious and took Romans class under Jimmy Allen.  They memorized all of chapter 12, I heard — and possibly chapters 5 and 8, too.  They probably glowed more, but I did appreciate Malone’s class:  the Bible was coming alive for me in new ways.

Once upon a jazz ensemble, I learned much about four-and five-note chords and voicing techniques like “drop 2.”  I glowed with newfound musical knowledge.

I remember Jazz Improv class and Jazz Band as fun, good high school music-making experiences, and as the preference of Mr. Byerly, the director, who had in another lifetime played with the Jimmy Dorsey Band.  These were important times for me:  music was coming alive in new ways.

But . . . I’ve since learned and experienced deeper things about music.  I’ve learned to interact more when I play.  I’ve learned about matching articulations and styles.  I’ve learned about beat-grouping and interpretation.  I’ve learned and experienced that conductors should “look like the music” when they lead — nonverbally evoking the music intended by the composer.

And  . . . I’ve since learned and experienced deeper things about the Bible since VBS and college Bible courses, too.

Whether in music or in biblical studies, may we be of the same mind:  to grow, from the point at which we find ourselves, in knowledge and depth of insight.

“It’s difficult to believe in something when your knowledge is so limited.”

– Joe from the TV series “Halt and Catch Fire” — speaking to those who had blinders on and were not seeing the future; referring, I think, to the then-forthcoming 286 computer and related specs

2 thoughts on “On learning and depth

  1. Steve 05/10/2015 / 7:21 am

    Not sure how much Biblical teaching I recall from Avon, but he once said that he knew a little Greek…he ran a store down the street. Probably politically incorrect now days… Alvin’s father, Joe, would stay at our house during meetings and draw pictures for my brother and me before bedtime: good times!


    • Brian Casey 05/10/2015 / 7:24 am

      Yep, that sounds like one of Avon’s quips. I remember the word “hupomone” from James and still use the wide-margin NASB that was new to me then, with notes in 1Peter and James from Avon.


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