One of the interesting aspects of learning new things for me right now is that I'm spending most of my time listening and very little of it processing.. at least processing out loud. I've been wondering lately why I have so little to say here, especially when I am thinking about so many things. But I realized that, perhaps for the first time in my life, I am learning more by listening (or reading, in this case) and not so much by interacting. I'm finding I'm not ready to engage in the conversations for the most part. I am just following along. At first I thought it was only because I knew so little about many of the topics, but that's never stopped me before. ;-) But there are more reasons than just ignorance. It feels good to just listen and not have an opinion for once. Usually I wrestle with everything and want the "right" answer immediately. But I'm finding that as I read through several and assorted blogs on theology and Christian life, I am more okay with just letting people have their opinion. More and more, I enjoy reading opinions I don't necessarily agree with, especially if they are well-written and non-polemic.
This altered way of learning certainly has something to do with 8 or 9 years of interacting with a group of women online. We've "sharpened iron" so much we're all bloody from the shrapnel! But this newer method of learning definitely came to the fore when I decided to listen to a friend's challenge that I learn about the Catholic Church from Catholics, not from Protestant debunkers. I took the challenge and started to read the beliefs and practices of the Catholic church and their reasoning behind those beliefs and practices. It's been especially challenging for me to let go of the desire to argue first, listen later. But the habit is growing, albeit slowly, and I'm finding a peacefulness in listening to many voices. I'm finding I can be enlightened, strengthened, challenged and encouraged without compromising my faith. Perhaps, just a little, I'm learning not to live in fear.