Never stop learning


Los Angeles schoolteachers are on strike. They say it’s for the students, and hopefully it can be resolved soon, or it’s going to start to be bad for everybody. The strike prompted a violin teacher in Los Angeles to write an article for the Los Angeles Times about what happened to her when there was a teacher’s strike in New York city in 1968 when she was 16 and a student at the High School of Music and Art there. She first saw the strike as an opportunity to practice her violin, but then her older brother, who had just graduated from college, decided to take it upon himself to teach her about opera. She says she was reluctant at the beginning, knowing nothing about it, but then her brother put the needle down on a recording of “Musetta’s Waltz” from Puccini’s “La Boheme,” and she said she felt like her heart was going to explode. So during that strike, her brother taught her about opera and about Shakespeare, complete with quizzes and exams. “Clearly you haven’t read the question carefully,” he wrote on one of her answers. Sounds like he filled in pretty well for her teachers.

I love this story and how it impressed upon me the value of learning — school or no school — and how you and I, as followers of Christ, must never stop the process. There is so much to learn — so much to do — on the planet, and in the universe, for which we are ultimately being prepared. Oh, you thought we were just going to take a long nap in heaven and play harps for eternity? Think again. God is waiting to put us in charge of all His creation.

I was excited to see some of you recommending books to each other in your comments. I like that. I am working on a book list to recommend for all of us — some of the important books that have helped shape my thinking and that are important for having and maintaining a real faith in the real world. I would also like to hear some off your recommendations and why.

It was said of Daniel and his three Jewish friends who served in Nebuchadnezzar’s court that they knew more about Babylon than the Babylonians. They were students of the culture; they never stopped learning. May it be said of us: that we know more about the world around us than the world around us knows.

That Los Angeles violin teacher ended her article hoping that some of the children had older brothers like she had. Highly unlikely. But we all can be students of the Word of God and the culture on our own. The world is too vast and God’s Word is too wide and deep to ever stop exploring and learning. And remember: all truth is God’s truth, so you don’t put God aside when you lay down the Word and pick up the world. You just keep on finding Him everywhere.

Recommended books by John Fischer on this topic:

What on Earth are We Doing? Finding Our Place as Christians in the World

Fearless Faith: Living Beyond the Walls of Safe Christianity

Finding God Where You Least Expect Him

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10 Responses to Never stop learning

  1. Mark D Seguin says:

    Oh Pastor John how I love to read books!

    A few of my favorites: How To Win Friends & Influence People, The DISC Method from Understating Personality Types, Acres of Diamonds, The Double Diamond Principle, Influence The Psychology of Persuasion, The Little Red Book for Selling, Very Little, But Very Powerful Book on Closing, My Utmost for His Highest and lastly but SURLY not last The Bible.

    PS your list intrigues me, TY 4 suggesting them, appreciate it & you…

  2. Sandie says:

    First – I recommend your books – Real Christians Dance, True Christians Ask Why and Making Real What I Already Believe. They played a major part in giving me the courage to get out of the rigid Christian ‘corner; I had allowed others to paint me into.
    Second – I have believed for a long time that every situation we find ourselves in provides opportunities for us to accomplish two things – to teach and to learn…not necessarily in that order. Sometimes I learn as I teach, and I think that is how it should be; in my mind they are always connected.

  3. John A Fagliano says:

    If you teach someone to value learning, you’ve taught them everything. Even things you didn’t know yourself.

  4. Cynthia Vera says:

    Great idea.. book list and if it is as good as your music choices it will be wonderful.

    • jwfisch says:

      Thank you for noticing the music choices. I guess I’m being a little selfish and choosing what I like, but then again, it’s my show! Let me know what you’d like to hear too.

  5. Di Patterson says:

    Anything and everything ever written by George MacDonald, 1824-1898.
    CS Lewis considered him the greatest genius of communicating goodness and creating the desire to be good in his readers; something I believe every Christian longs for.
    Google him and learn; then read it all, no matter how long it takes. So worth it!
    Eternal stuff.

  6. There are so many wonderful books to read out there that one has to accept the reality that we will never ever get to read them all in any one lifetime.
    However, I meekly would like to implore people to not limit their reading to only “Christian” books and articles.
    There are many fine “secular” and inoffensive books that are both pleasurable, educational, and even enlightening.
    Revisit some of the old classics.
    Discover something new about someone through biographies.
    Take a trip to Narnia or Middle Earth or the moons of Jupiter or Tattooine once more.
    Learn how and why things work through easy-to-read scientific publications.
    Of course, read your Bible every day, too!

    While I enjoy fiction and fantasy, personally, I prefer reading true stories about history (both past and present) and the lives of the people who have contributed to shaping our world.
    One of my all-time favorites is the mesmerizing story about Louis Zamperini as told by Laura Hillenbrand in her book “Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption”.
    As far as I’m concerned, this is a must-read for EVERYONE!

    Currently, I’m reading a book published last year written by Dan Hampton: “Chasing the Demon: A Secret History of the Quest for the Sound Barrier, and the Band of American Aces Who Conquered It”
    It’s essentially about the history of flight from ancient Egypt up to when Chuck Yeager officially broke the sound barrier.
    Very fascinating.

    The next book in my queue is: “Fly Girls: How Five Daring Women Defied All Odds and Made Aviation History ” by Keith O’Brien.

    “If we encounter a man of rare intellect, we should ask him what books he reads.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

  7. peter leenheer says:

    I agree with all comments made and love to read here what others are interested in perusing. It appears obvious that we all read what we have been led to read, because each of us is different in our intellectual makeup, character, interests and gifts. So we read what catches our attention, is in our interest etc. For example I am interested in history and love historical novels, and also have a faith in God so love to read about prayer, the Christian life, biographies of Christ followers etc.

    At one point, when becoming interested in developing my relationship with God, I asked God to show me what he wanted me to read and study. The Bible is the first book that was on the list. Since then, God leads me to read what is relevant to my situation. For example he has me working in Children’s Ministry so I read articles and books about that. My involvement with a prayer group in my church has led me to books about prayer by Dutch Sheets, John Eldredge, Oswald Chambers, and Daniel Henderson to name a few. My character and faith building has put me in touch with the books of Francis Frangipane, especially his on line in Christ’s Image training correspondence course, John Eldredge’s books, Os Hillman of market place leaders, A. W. Tozer, Francis Fenelon, John of the Cross, Neil Anderson, and Jim Cymbala are others that have crossed my path. It seems to me that God wanted me to read them. I ask him to lead me, the books cross my path, and I ask him if this applies to what He wants me to learn. If I get the sense he wants me to read this I do it.

    One book that I would recommend is called ‘Two Minutes of Silence for the God of Tabe’ by Gabe Rienks. Most likely it is a little known book. It is a biography of a ‘Troubadour of God’ who worked in the youth in the sixties and seventies in Amsterdam when that city was a magnet for hippies and drug culture. His death at age 50 due to cancer cut that short, but people have continued the work in his footsteps to this day. Tabe Rienks, the youth leader of Amsterdam, said, ‘We must always be seeking out unconverted souls because then we stay close to God’, ‘Three Cheers for Golgotha’, ‘A lot of Christians think that if they have studied the matter most of what is needed has been accomplished’, ‘The difference between Christian youthwork and other youthwork is that Christian youthwork never gives up.’
    This has been a very joyful ride for me because I was never interested in doing this type of study till about twelve years ago. In fact I thought this was too intellectual for me and could not understand these books. In a sense God has mentored me by leading me to see the thoughts of people all over North America and Europe who have been faithfully penning thoughts about God’s Kingdom since time began.

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