I asked my friend if he had a sentence or two from the Bible that were anchors for him, what is often called a “life verse.” He said that he was always drawn to a few sentences from Jesus, quoted in the book of John. I suggested that he learn them for our next conversation. Not memorize, necessarily, but be able to tell be about them, tell me the story. He agreed. And in our next conversation, he talked through them, making explanations and observations. He did well. I learned from him.
So I said, “Do it again for next week.” “Okay,” he said, with a tone of voice that wants a bit more explanation. So I gave him some reasons.
First, I am learning that testing helps us learn. Not the end of year, all or nothing kinds of tests. But simple assessments in the course of the learning. Like being asked to explain a text. He could just read it. But knowing that I’ll be engaging with him sharpens the reading process. It pushed him to read a couple Bible translations, to think often about what the text says.
Second, talking out loud about a text makes us engage differently than simply reading it silently. As he tells me about the passage, he’s speaking words which were first spoken, not written. Anyone who has watched me stop to think while teaching knows that this is part of my engagement with texts.
Third, it seems worth investing two weeks carefully engaging with something you use to guide your life. Since I can encourage him to do this, I am.
Fourth, as a way to help him feel comfortable talking about faith, we’re talking about faith in a conversational way. The more you can practice talking, the easier it becomes.
Make sense? What do you think? And, do you have a sentence or two?