The teacher who makes the angels dance
07 April 2022
PORT MORESBY - It is 12 years since I attended Dr Carol Tasker’s class on Spiritual Formation at the Papua New Guinea Union Mission study centre in Lae.
Dr Tasker is an Australian who studied for her doctorate, with a special focus on Adventist pastors’ spirituality, at Andrews University in the United States.
She is now director of post-graduate studies at Pacific Adventist University in Port Moresby.
She is married to Dr David Tasker, dean of the school of theology and education. They have two children, both now young men.
I write this reflection of 2010 about a class of 12 students under the tuition of Dr Tasker. On the very first day we were taught scripture journaling.
After selecting a book from the Gospels, we were to write a journal based on our interaction with the word of God.
Over six weeks, starting with the first verse of the first chapter, we were to make our way through the entire book and maintain the journaling for six weeks
And each day we were required to answer three questions: what does it mean, what does it say about God and what does it say about me?
The first question helped us understand the historical context of the text.
The second enabled us to discover what God is doing in the narrative.
The third assisted us discover the relevance of the story to our lives - to draw spiritual lessons and practical applications to enhance our personal walk with Jesus Christ.
I selected the book of St Mark for my journaling because it was the shortest of the four gospels.
As I worked through this exercise, the Bible became a new and thrilling book to me.
After the six weeks finished and when classes ended I have continued journaling for the last 12 years.
In 2013, with many ideas exciting my mind, I taught myself how to write a book, starting with writing stories and poems.
The scripture journaling had become the catalyst for my creative writing.
My books include short essays on socio-economic and political issues affecting Papua New Guinea.
I often write and contribute to The National newspaper, South Pacific Record magazine, the influential PNG Attitude blog and my Facebook page.
Journaling has done much for me: enhancing my creative thinking and enabling me to read the Bible systematically and so understand it in a way I have not known before.
I have now read and journaled the entire Bible.
After that 10 years, the Bible was clearer and I enjoyed the moments I spent in God’s holy writ, discovering hidden gems from this rich mine.
After an hour each day reading and journaling, I meditate on the word of God and let its power impact my life. I ride on the wings of God’s word.
I always carry pen and paper to record insights as I think and reflect. What I discover from meditation, I share in my lectures and preaching.
After mastering journaling, I began teaching the skill to many of my students. I have taught it to more than one thousand students, and they have taught it to others, creating a ripple effect.
In 2019 I was able to publish my first book, ‘My Poetic Musings’, a byproduct of my scripture journaling.
I had many teachers. My first teacher was my mother. There were my relatives who spent time with me. I learned about village life.
I learned there is a communal obligation to transmit knowledge. In Melanesia, it takes the whole village to raise a child.
I learned from my primary and high school teachers, and then from my esteemed professors at university. And I read their books, books which altered my thinking.
But the teacher who really had a profound impact in my life is Dr Carol Tasker.
Her influence has been unquantifiable. I hold her in the highest regard. And she imparted to me the skills of scripture journaling.
One of the important lessons I learned is the role of consistency. What is done consistently over time can produce gargantuan results and amaze us.
By consistent daily conception, God created the universe in six days. By consistent reading, Booker T Washington acquired such knowledge and became adviser to a president. By consistent innovation, Thomas Edison became the wizard of Menlo Park. By consistently writing 10 pages a day, Stephen King became the bestselling writer of fiction.
As a drop of rain following constantly on a rock can create a hole in the stone, so consistent action compounds over time and produces amazing results over time.
Many times, we shoot our arrows at random, focusing on a gazillion things, we become generalists of everything but not masters of anything.
To me, this represents a waste of innate potential. We need to be focus and be consistent. To master a skill or an idea, to become proficient, to reach excellence, to gain rare knowledge and hopefully to become wise.
So my rule is to be consistent. Read every day. Write every day. Exercise every day. Reflect every day. Do something new every day.
People often underestimate what they can accomplish.
But a year of consistent daily action can accomplish marvels that will amaze us.
And also make the demons jealous. But the angels will dance. And God will be proud.
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