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  • Writer's pictureThe Rev. Beth Knowlton

Cultivating Curiosity Over Certainty

“Philip found Nathanael and said to him, ‘We have found him about whom Moses in the law and also the prophets wrote, Jesus son of Joseph from Nazareth.’ Nathanael said to him, ‘Can anything good come out of Nazareth?’ Philip said to him, ‘Come and see.’” From John 1:43-51


I have wondered for some time whether one of the best spiritual practices we can cultivate is a spirit of curiosity. Rather than racing ahead to a point of certainty in our journey, what might we discover when we first stop and allow curiosity to be present. I find this particularly helpful if I’m confronted with an opinion that I immediately find to be in opposition to my own worldview. It is so tempting to merely dismiss it out of hand. But what I love about this exchange between Philip and Nathanael is that even though Nathanael has a preconceived notion about where the Messiah is likely to come from, he doesn’t stop there. He has enough spirit of curiosity to respond to the invitation to come and see whether or not there is more for him to learn.


This orientation toward curiosity is very much in the spirit of Anglicanism and our way of looking at Scripture, Tradition, and Reason as an approach to discernment. It also very much supports a growth model of spirituality. Our Renewal Works team has been hard at work discerning how we might encourage a deepening of our spiritual lives here at St. Mark’s. Our vestry will discern next steps for our congregation based on this work later this month. Be on the lookout for a fuller report in February to learn the results of the spiritual life inventory we did in the fall and how we might use that to envision community steps towards supporting our spiritual growth.


What is clear from this interchange with Philip and Nathanael is the importance of conversation and relationships to seek and find the presence of Jesus in our midst. Community is one of the best ways we practice curiosity and discernment with one another. Our new adult formation class, Nurturing the Journey, will be an exploration of what the building blocks of our faith offer. We begin a two-week segment on the Baptismal Covenant this Sunday. What are the promises we make to and with one another as we seek to grow in our faith? The format for the class includes table conversation and community building alongside teaching. A table specifically designated for our youth will be available so they can explore these issues with us. This class will allow people who are seeking confirmation, reaffirmation, or reception to participate with those who have been longtime members as well. Whether you have studied these building blocks for years or are brand new to the Episcopal Church - come and see! There will be much to fuel your curiosity and connection with this this vital faith community. Come at 10:10 am on Sundays! Invite a friend to join you!


Peace, Beth +


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