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water… a clue! and Gardner’s multiple intelligences

August.5.2009

It all started when I was taking Burke (4) to Sweets for a morning donut.  We were driving down Texas and talking about water (for some reason – who knows) and how cool it was… so many uses, you know?  Not only do you need to drink it to stay alive, but you can immerse your whole body in it to swim, and the Lord makes it fall down from the sky – crazy – right?  Well, we stopped a the light on Harvey and he points out his window while yelling, “Look, a clue!”

blue's clues

Anyone who watches Blues Clues would immediately understand what he was saying, of course.  “A clue, a clue!” he continued.  I finally caught on and asked, “Where?”  I looked up, and, on the water tower overlooking College Station was an oversized paw print.

Is the Lord wild or what?

——

Also, on a slightly unrelated train of thought… I had a conversation with a friend the other night which led me to an interesting, yet theoretical, solution to the problems of various churches freezing themselves (unconsciously of course) in the way they teach people to relate to the Lord.  I mean, everyone relates to Him differently, and the way I relate to Him in the morning can even change with the tide of the day by the afternoon.  So, why do we teach people that the best (and sometimes only) way to get to know the Most-High-God (and our Father) is a formula, or that it never is?

I really don’t know if you’re tracking with me or not, but I’ll keep explaining nonetheless.  We were comparing two ways that different church buildings do things, seeing big differences in how they (maybe unknowingly?) teach people to commune with the Living God, and the pros and cons of each.

Say at Church A, they are really academically minded and have much structure.  They use small groups that study the Bible inductively to get people at their (pretty) big church connected to one another.  This is how people learn to speak to the Lord – they inductively (sentence by sentence and word by word) study the Bible, memorize verses, and talk about it in small groups once a week with one another.

Church B, on the other hand, is pretty much the total opposite.  They are a pretty small in numbers, place a heavy emphasis on community and knowing the Lord through relating to and loving one another.  I have never heard anyone talking about the need for daily reading or memorizing scripture from the Bible there – but – I have heard that it is important to be open, honest, and truthful with one another – even when that looks hard or painful – and let the Spirit lead the way you worship – whether that be painting, singing, writing, etc.

Both of these churches probably initially did what was right for the people in them – teaching members to relate to the Lord the same way they did best.  The truth is, everyone learns differently – and the way I relate to a human being may be (and probably is at least in some way) completely different than how you relate to that same human being.  This started me thinking about something I learned through my schooling at A&M – Gardner’s Theory of Multiple Intelligences.

gardner's multiple intelligences

So, this guy Gardner believes (and backs his beliefs up with much research) that there are 8 different ways that various people primarily learn (linguistic, logical-mathematical, spatial, bodily-kinesthetic, musical, interpersonal, intrapersonal, and naturalist).  Basically, for the sake of your reading time and space, I realized to a cool alternative to just freezing and teaching a specific way to relate to the Lord.

OK.  Say you have this group of people who want not only to get to know the Lord better but also want to be the family that they already are as sons and daughters of the Most-High-God.  So take a passage of Scripture (or an idea, song, poem, quote, etc), maybe talk about it or just read through it together for about 5 minutes, then give everyone a predetermined amount of time to learn from the Lord on their own.  So, Person A may go home and write a song about what the Lord revealed to him in these verses, Person B may go home and just read it 10 or 20 times and really soak it in and memorizing various verses, Person C may talk about it with Person D, Person D may look at it word by word and look up the Greek/Hebrew meanings and various commentaries, Person E may paint or take photos or make up a dance, Person F might really just see something that reminds him of something else in the scriptures and relate it back to that, Person G may come up with really insightful questions to ask the group about the passage, and Person H may have no clue what she is doing so she goes back to Person A and says, “What in the world am I supposed to do?  I don’t get it”.

But the thing is, instead of Person A explaining to Person H, “Well, this is how you write a song…” (how she usually relates) she actually really just tries to figure out how Person H already expresses herself and where her talents and abilities are, in order to give suggestions, and if Person H does want more structure, then maybe just providing thought-provoking questions about the verses for her would be great.  And, knowing myself, I wouldn’t always do the same thing every week, because I am always in different moods and really enjoy change.

Anyway, once everyone had been doing this for the predetermined amount of time (maybe a week), they meet back together and share what the Lord has taught, given, shown, revealed to them.  And how greatly do you get to see different manifestations of the Spirit in each person for the common good!  There is no longer one “teacher” who leads everything and teaches from the way that he relates to the Lord best, but every member of the body is equal, and capable of teaching every other member for the common good – to show the glory of the Lord and His goodness and to edify the Church, His bride.  And maybe, just maybe, we can teach each other to relate to the Lord in new ways.

I don’t claim to have all the answers, and I don’t even claim this would work – I’ve never tried it.  I do know one thing would have to change – people would have to come prepare to speak and learn, rather than just come prepared to sit and listen.  The Lord is good though – and sovereign.  Let us all rejoice – and share our ideas!

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One Comment leave one →
  1. Sue permalink
    August.8.2009 5:45am

    Interesting way that you applied Gardner’s Idea to the Body of Christ. I have always believed that people learn in different ways (and that can change anytime also). I also believe that the Holy Spirit is given to us to help us understand what God is telling us through His Word. We can learn the same truth, but in different ways.

    Thank you for sharing this with me and so many others.

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