But, hey, he's back, at least for a little while before returning his blog to dormancy.
an extensive quote for consideration:
... When we attend a church service and hear a sermon, we may often leave with the impression that we haven’t learnt anything. Without the ‘spark’ of new information or a sense of ‘connection’ we may wonder why we are bothering in the first place. The feeling that we are wasting our time may be compounded when, in addition to feeling that we haven’t learnt anything and have no frisson of ‘connection’ to God, we find the practice of sitting through a sermon burdensome and exhausting. Some of these issues may be particularly pronounced for those with academic theological education who doubt that there is anything a regular church sermon could teach them that they don’t already know.
However, determining whether or not we are learning isn’t straightforward: the feeling that we aren’t learning isn’t always a reliable indicator. Often this sense can be nothing more than our failure to appreciate the sorts of lessons that we are learning and how they are being learnt. People who focus upon receiving new information from every sermon will often leave disappointed. This doesn’t mean that they haven’t learnt anything, though: learning isn’t merely about information. ...
It may well be like this in all sorts of domains. As a composer and a musician it's not the case every time I hear a piece of music that I am startled with the wonder of music as an art form, for instance. There are many drastically different ways of listening to music because there are different ways of perceiving music within the perceiving mind. Anyone who wants to get some vague idea of how it was Beethoven was able to keep composing so much music long after he had gone deaf needs to get their minds around the idea that there is the music of the mind. And, on that tangential line of thought, Music of My Mind by Stevie Wonder is a pretty good album.