Welcome back to another installment of Curiosity Friday!
This week, we’re back to one topic – curiosity itself – and the question, “How can we best stay curious in these challenging times?”
Great to be with you all again.
Welcome to another installment of Curiosity Friday.
I hope you are all doing well.
In previous posts, we’ve learned a bit more about the congregation’s music director Brandon Moss, and then our professional religious educator Amber Scott helped me offer a short tutorial on some of the tech we’re using to keep connected during these weeks of social distancing.
Today I want to talk to you about curiosity itself, and its role in our lives at this time.
Curiosity is what keeps me learning, what keeps my eyes open to unexpected beauty, and to the marvel that is each and every one of us.
Several years ago, I preached a sermon on the importance of staying curious. And then, a few months later, I realized that right then I wasn’t curious in the least.
I had let myself get tired and worn down. Instead of being curious, I was trying to protect myself from what was draining me, and in this little cocoon of protection, I felt like I knew everything that I would ever need to know.
Now, we do learn things as we go through our lives. We begin to see patterns world events and repetitions in the comings and goings of others, and in our lives as well.
But recognizing patterns is not the same as knowing everything worth knowing.
During a radio interview, the religious historian Karen Armstrong once said, “Today’s prophets make sure to listen, because they know the next thing God says may be carried on the next gentle breeze.”
Armstrong may be a theist, but you don’t need to be one too, to under- stand what she’s saying here.
In order to keep our minds alive, we need to leave room for the next thing worth taking in, worth learning.
So, what keeps you curious?
If you’ve also lost your curiosity for any length of time, how did you get it back?
I want to live with curiosity, and the ability to be awed. I want to keep learning, and I don’t want offer those up as sacrifices to fear and anxiety, now or at any time.
One of the things I’ve returned to that helps keep my curiosity alive is the joy I find in taking pictures.
Back when I thought I’d make photography a career, I made time to take classes. I had teachers.
I haven’t had time for classes recently, but I‘ve found I can still have teachers.
The internet really can be a wonderful thing. There are YouTube videos on everything, and if you look, you can find some terrific material there.
One of the photographers whose posts I follow is a young man named Sean Tucker. He was born in southern Africa and now lives and works in London. There is a depth of thought and caring to his work, and I wasn’t surprised to learn that he had been a priest before he moved on to portrait and street photography. He titled his post from last week, Guard Hope. I recommend it to you.
One of the comments he makes is that “we are forged in the shadows” of either great love or great challenge (at 11 minutes into the video). Despite how bad this time is and may become, we can come out of it stronger, more empathetic, more connected.
I hope that in this time of self-quarantine we can keep our hearts open to one another, and the possibilities that remain.
Yes, we will be challenged. Yes, we will bear losses. But love will see us through, if we allow it to.
Let’s stay open. And one of the best ways I know how to do that is to stay curious.
What are you curious about? What keeps you curious?
Let’s keep the conversation going:
For more on Sean Tucker, check out his is web site here.