From Your Minister of Congregational Care
Our theme for this month is “Ways of Knowing.” Confucius said that “by three methods we may learn wisdom. First, by reflection, which is noblest. Second, by imitation, which is easiest. And third, by experience which is the bitterest.” As I contemplated this month’s theme, I recalled times when I learned wisdom by experience. At times, experiences were humbling and instructive. At times, experiences were merely examples that affirmed what not to do in a situation, a sort of vicarious knowing. More accurately, there were experiences that opened my eyes and showed me behaviors I wanted to live into as well as behaviors I hoped to avoid at all cost. “I don’t want to be like that” was a thought I had as a young person reflecting on an unkind teacher who didn’t hesitate to scold and humiliate students. Instinctively, it just felt “wrong.” That’s one way of knowing — instinct. Our gut and intuition are ways of knowing. Science is a way of knowing. Research and dialogue are ways of knowing.
How about you? What are the ways of knowing you trust most?
There are so many avenues, so many paths by which we know (or think we know). We know because a trusted someone shared some information with us. We know because we saw it on the news or read it in a book. We know because our cousin’s husband’s sister said so. Knowing is serious business.
There are certainly different types of knowledge: Practical knowledge, scientific knowledge, religious or spiritual knowing. What we know for sure is related to the one idea shared among the world’s religions. That idea is a knowing that kindness is of the utmost important in all we do. May we be reminded of that knowing, of that universal spiritual truth, and may we minister one to another always from a place of kindness.
Peace be with you,
Rev. Mary Frances