Monday, April 4, 2016

Notes on Note Taking

My father was a note taker. The habit started when he was a teen and survived a traumatic brain injury that affected his short term memory. He would study each morning, take notes and eventually was valedictorian of his graduating class. Twenty years later, when he went to work for American Airlines, he kept a notebook with daily tasks to be certain he accomplished them all. One of the last things he used in 2000 was a small old notebook where he wrote down the jobs he had, from picking cotton to American Airlines Security, followed by retirement. I picked up some of his habit.

I take notes. From these notes come almost all I write here, though some catch my attention on the ‘net. I keep sermon notes – usually three times a week, sometimes more, sometimes less, but always there are reminders of scriptures and references of things I think are important. My current notebook begins December 3, 2015 when we were studying Proverbs chapter 18. I noted several verses, but marked:

He that answereth a matter before he heareth it, it is folly and shame unto him. (Proverbs 18:13 KJV)

When reading a commentary on this verse I found a reference:
Many mighty men have been greatly disgraced; and the honourable delivered into other men's hands. Blame not before thou hast examined the truth: understand first, and then rebuke. Answer not before thou hast heard the cause: neither interrupt men in the midst of their talk. Ecclesiasticus 11:8
Along with an explanatory note about the Apocrypha in the original 1611 King James Bible, removed in 1885. And, there was a note in the commentary – originally in Latin, but I found a translation:
The one who decides in any case, without hearing the other side of the question, though he might determine justly, is not therefore just (Seneca)
Research takes multiple paths and keeping notes on those paths (the reason for taking them, the results of taking them, and the changes caused/not caused) are important. I know that from my genealogy research but particularly for my Bible study and research.

Another example is in older GPS instructions for finding the First Baptist Church of Cottondale. The earliest online mapping apparently thought the street address being in Paradise also placed this church in Paradise. As John Wayne used to say, “Not hardly.” Taking someone else’s word, no matter how technologically/scientifically advanced, sometimes sends us in the wrong direction.

Jesus gave us some specific travel advice:

Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it. (Matthew 7:13-14 KJV)

“Strait” does not mean “straight.” It means “… limited spatial capacity; narrow or cramped.” Sort of the same as narrow “… limited in extent, amount, or scope; restricted.”That could be why followers of Christ are often called narrow-minded. We do decline to accept the widened view of “anything goes,” or as the Bible puts it:

Ye shall not do after all the things that we do here this day, every man whatsoever is right in his own eyes. (Deuteronomy 12:8 KJV)

Yet, they did:

In those days there was no king in Israel, but every man did that which was right in his own eyes. (Judges 17:6 KJV)

Until even Solomon notes:

The way of a fool is right in his own eyes: but he that hearkeneth unto counsel is wise. (Proverbs 12:15 KJV)

Do be cautious about that counsel. We can find people that agree with us – just ask the question on FB or Twitter and thousands will agree that the moon is made of green cheese. Seek wise counsel for wise counseling. Especially as it refers to God:

Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. (Matthew 7:15-17 KJV)

How’s your fruit?

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