Boring Conferences and Learning

They were all struck with astonishment and began glorifying God; and they were filled with fear, saying, “We have seen remarkable things today” (Luke 5:26, NASB1995).

Have you dreaded a Zoom® conference?  

Has a company paid thousands to send you to a conference, and while at the conference, you anticipated playing golf in the afternoon rather than the presentations in the morning?

We bore easily.  

When a conference is instructional only – attempting to train our brain by pouring in information through PowerPoint® outlines . . .  

We fall asleep!

Don’t feel guilty; we weren’t designed by God to learn by rote teaching. God wants us to learn through experience rather than information stuffing.

In the Bible, those who followed Jesus learned quickly. He didn’t follow the traditional teaching methods of the time that favored memorization. He walked, healed, taught, and people remembered!

Jesus wasn’t boring. 

In Luke 5:17-26, Jesus heals a paralytic. While the Pharisees and more common people observed, a lame man was lowered through the roof of a house into the Presence of Jesus. 

Jesus looked at the paralytic and said, “Young man, your sins are forgiven!” When the Pharisees objected that only God could forgive sins, Jesus said, “Is it easier to forgive sins or say, ‘Stand up and walk?’”

Luke 5:26 describes the audience’s response, “We have seen [perceived something new] remarkable things [that challenge our preconceptions] today.”

Science has learned more about memory in the last 20 years than in the last 2,000 years. We now know a part of the brain called the amygdala acts as our brain’s memory conductor. 

The amygdala prioritizes our learning experiences according to importance. As children, we learn quickly that the pot on the stove is hot, while it takes a few years for potty training. 

That’s the amygdala!

This conductor of memory emphasizes traffic lights over algebra, good weather over meteorological understanding, and safety over exact recall of the Ten Commandments.

You could say that amygdala is the fight, flight or fun part of the brain. We quickly learn about danger and pleasure.

What we understand about education today, Jesus already knew and practiced in His instruction. He was so successful with the twelve apostles that the educated elite had this reaction upon encountering the apostles in the book of Acts . . . 

When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus (Acts 4:13, NIV).

Back to boring conferences. 

Too often, education promotes memory recall. Recent studies show that 70 percent of information learned in this manner is forgotten within 24 hours. We should question how we preach sermons, teach small groups, and disciple our children.  

Let’s use the best practices first exhibited by Jesus and now proven by science.

Wow, this has been a “heady” Interruption today. If you didn’t like it, fortunately, you will forget it by tomorrow morning. 

I don’t golf, but I confess that the entire time I’ve been writing this blog, I’ve been thinking of riding my bike.

Have fun with the rest of your day, as I’m off for a nice long ride.

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