Does anyone ever get any wiser? and other hermeneutical questions

If talking about “wisdom” is bland bland bland, can’t it be spiced up? If we are just talking about slavish copying of some exemplar, that process seems not more interesting than sitting in a monastery copying a text and hoping some of the content sticks to oneself personally. Bo-ring.

Even copying a person, without some kind of rationale, some kind of interactivity, some kind of mentoring, some kind of care, of love, is the only way that such a copying process would ever come alive.

The alternative way of thinking about education must be the tempting way for schooled people in a Western society.

You learn the propositions, you take the test, you thus prove you know the stuff.

Clearly, that’s way short of “Christian education.”

I can spout all kinds of answers but if there is no service, no love, to show the reality of the answers in my life, I just prove my fraudulence.

So the question has to be: how does a person grow in wisdom.

Here things get non standard and maybe somewhat interesting.

All of us lives life as a story.

I have my story.

You have your story.

Moreover, I am always engaged in rewriting the story.

Or adding to the lived blog, if the new incident in the never ending soap opera that is my life really does not challenge, deepen, or contradict my previous interpretation of my life.

(We can notice as we go by that “web log” sounds more like “chronicle,” usually meant as UNINTERPRETED historical data, rather than “history” usually seen as defined by some philosophy or historiography that determines the selection of data. But let’s let that pass and move on to….)

I assess my new experiences on a grid.

The grid is inherited from parents, family, friends, the street, television, internet, alpha pups, teachers, university professors (now we come to the bottom of the list) etc

I interpret my experience based on what people around me and I myself take to be significant in life.

Maybe it is a great career, like Horatio Alger used to write about.

Then any reverse to my upward trend is a negative in my life. No other grid. Although I may be conflicted about my priority for upward mobility, still, I become depressed because I did not get the promotion.

Take another grid. It is the grid of how God has worked in history, taken to be an authoritative history.

I compare my new experience, fit it in, based on what the grid tells me of other human beings’ experiences with this God, who I take to be able to direct history.

Then I have a scheme of interpretation.

I have a heuristic.

I have a hermeneutic.

If I read my experience in the light of what has been revealed about the direction of history, I learn a little something.

It may not be an easy process.

I struggle against my other grids which tells me that the failure to be promoted is an unrelieved Bad.

But I know from divine history that sometimes such reverses are really totally Good.

Do I believe the divine grid, or my socially derived grid?

Hopefully I look at Genesis 37-50 or Psalm 73 and say to self, Stupid, buck yourself up. You don’t have to be in charge of your own life. You need to trust the power who directs history, who knows what’s what. We live in a world of surfaces, screens, seduction. Or, even if my failure seems like an unmitigated Bad, Tragic, a Travesty, still, I have a sense of higher order that is not only rationalization but acknowledging the inscrutability of history beyond what is revealed.

GIST: I develop wisdom by interacting with the divine history and its offshoots.

Wisdom is learning a person, but learning a person as part of 2000 plus years of revelation and even 2000 subsequent years of other societies and persons learnings. It is contextually attuned wisdom gleaning.

What do you comment?

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