A tool for review.

I wrote this post at the end of 2014 to help you get ready for the next year. I’m updating it and sending it out now in case you have time during this weekend to start the reflection process. And it may be a conversation starter around the table on Thanksgiving.


In 2014, I learned a tool for Bible study. And I started to teach it to a group of young adults. I wanted them to know what to do if I didn’t show up for Sunday school some day.

You identify a passage of Scripture. A story, perhaps, or a section of teaching. You read it out loud in the group. And then you ask these questions, slowly, giving plenty of time for conversation. But staying close to the question.

  1. What did you like about that passage?
  2. What didn’t you like?
  3. What don’t you understand?
  4. What did you learn about God?
  5. What did you learn about people?
  6. What are you going to do with what you learned?

FullSizeRender (8)It is a good tool. It gets interesting conversation. Most people don’t get permission to talk about what they don’t like abut a passage in the Bible. And the last question makes us commit to doing something.

As I was thinking about doing an annual review, I started thinking about answering the question, “What did I learn?” Not so much of “what did I do?”  but, “what did I take away from the year?” And remembering that learning is not only lessons from failure: “Here’s what I’ll never do again” but also lessons from success: “Here’s what I want to do more and more.”

And two years ago, and again this year, I’ve realized that the discovery questions from the Bible study work well for thinking about a year.

So take an hour and a chair and a cup of coffee and something to write with. Take a planner from 2017 or the journal you kept or your Facebook/Instagram/Twitter stream. Ask yourself these questions:

  1. What did I like about 2017?
  2. What didn’t I like?
  3. What don’t I understand?
  4. What did I learn about God?
  5. What did I learn about people?
  6. What am I going to do in 2018 with what I learned?

Let us know how it goes.


Saint John of the Mall may be a way to help a friend think though getting ready for Christmas.  It’s available in Paperback and Kindle.

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