Saturday, April 30, 2011

Can A Group Elevate Our Thinking?

A couple of years ago one of my friends bought me a little book call the St. Andrews Seven. It is a wonderful recounting of six students and their professor from St. Andrews in Scotland in the early 19th Century and how their interaction spurred a great initiative in Scottish missions. For me, it was a catalyst for thinking about how group interaction can elevate us to greater heights than we could ever achieve alone. 

This is a topic that is fascinating to me (and which I will be pursuing in further study in the near future). I am in the process of gathering information on several such groups and learning what we can learn from these.

My preliminary understanding of this is: a person can only think and work with information that they have encountered from 1) direct observation or 2) an outside source (such as a book, lecture or conversation with another person). Creative and dynamic ideas build in a synergistic way, therefore when several people who are passionate, creative, studious, hardworking or any other such element interact in community even greater things happen! I have actually witnessed this in my life to a degree when I interact with best students in a class, the quality of my own work goes up.

Here's another example: I hate to jog. I can't breath well. I have flat feet. And I would much rather walk at a comfortable pace.  A number of years ago, my friend Mark would get me to go jogging with him and a few friends who were all athletic. The result was that even though I would have never run 2-3 miles on my own, I was able to do it. On the other hand, get several athletic people together and they can push each other to excel to an even greater degree. Thinking is the same way. If we surround ourselves with great people on a similar mission, well can accomplish even more. Proverbs 27:17 says, "As iron sharps iron, so one man sharpens another." Let's sharpen each other and do great things for God!

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