So, what have you learned lately?

I just want to begin this article by saying with my heart, a big "thank you" to Ray Chamberlain for paving the way for a new bishop. And thank you Holston for your warm and gracious welcome.

So what have you learned from life? Let me rephrase that question. Have your experiences in life produced good and positive fruit in you? In one of his books, J. Ellsworth Kalas uses a very probing and somewhat comical title: "If Experience is Such a Good Teacher, Why Do I Keep Repeating the Course?" He writes in the introduction: We've all heard that Experience is the best teacher, but many of us have been in its classes long enough to know that its reputation is overrated. If Experience was so effective, we'd all be practicing geniuses by middle age, because all of us get equal time in its care.

It is apparent to me that simply living is not enough to ensure that we will grow, develop and be more effective people for Christ. However, I do believe that our experiences hold within them the potential for positive life-changing possibilities. Yet for most of us, learning from our experiences has been more the exception and not the rule.

I am convinced that the Lord is really interested in our growth, and because of that, when we fail to grow from an experience God will make sure that we repeat the course until we learn. Therefore, Kalas' book poses the appropriate question, "If experience is such a good teacher, why do I keep repeating the course?" My mother often used this phrase: "You can take a horse to water, but you can't make him drink." Please do not confuse learning, as used here, with knowledge. I guess I am writing more about wisdom than I am about an operation of the brain. Simply knowing is not enough; we must be able to put into action what we have experienced.

So I ask again: What have you learned from life? What has life offered you lately as an opportunity for growth and development? Where have you missed those moments, and where have you taken advantage of those growth-potential moments? Growth-potential moments will come because they are a part of the circle of life.

Iyanla Vanzant dedicates her book, "One Day My Soul Just Opened Up" ... to Ego, that part of us that continues to worry, lives in doubt, is afraid, judges other people, is afraid to trust, needs proof, believes only when it is convenient, fails to follow up, refuses to practice what it preaches, needs to be rescued, wants to be a victim, beats up on 'self', needs to be right all of the time, and continues to hold on to what does not work.

I realize that part of that ego is in me and probably in all of us. However, I believe that God has given us all what we need - if we but apply what the Holy Spirit has tried to teach us.


Bishop James Swanson
Resident Bishop

Cover Stories:
Send hurricane relief supplies
Welcome your neighbors

For the Kids

Quack, Quack

National & World News

Back to The Call Home Page

9915 Kingston Pike, Suite C | Knoxville, TN 37922
PO Box 32939 | Knoxville, TN 37930 | Phone (865) 690-4080 | Fax (865) 690-3162

210 Maple St. | Johnson City, TN 37604
PO Box 2506 | Johnson City, TN 37605 | Phone (423) 928-2156 | Fax (423) 928-880

Usage of this website is restricted to our Terms of Service.
Privacy Statement
© 2004 Holston Conference