Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Experience and Expertise



My husband and I are having the most interesting conversations of late, which I really enjoy.

So Sunday, at church the pastor made a comment that when a young man is courting a woman he should also court her mother.  He then said, "I'm no expert but I have experience."

This led to a number of back and forth questions (in church).

Eventually after church, I asked, "Can you have expertise without experience?"

Before I tell you my final conclusions, I'd love to hear what you think.

Can you have expertise without experience? If yes, how? Isn't that just knowledge if there's no experience? Is one better than the other? Is this true for certain areas and not others? Do you think this relates to your Christian walk? Can you be an expert at being a Christian? Or can you be an experienced Christian? Or can you be both?


4 comments:

  1. oh my goodness what great questions!! It is hard to imagine someone being an expert at something with no experience...gotta think on it some more!

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  2. Great questions! My little brain needs time to ponder on these. I'd love to hear what you're thoughts are :)
    I'll be back!

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  3. Very challenging question. I guess it is safe to say that you should have experience before being considered an expert. It seems you learn and develop knowledge then go out to put the knowledge to use, thus gaining experience. With that knowledge supported by experience can lead you down the path of an expert. I still need to think a bit on being an expert Christian..........hmmmm

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  4. Can you have expertise without experience? If yes, how? Isn't that just knowledge if there's no experience? Is one better than the other? Is this true for certain areas and not others?

    This question makes me think of NFL and NBA coaches who have never stepped on the field/court. Some successful ones are the Van Gundy brothers (Jeff & Steve) in the NBA and Sean Payton (coach of the New Orleans Saints). Coaches from this mold have been said to be players coaches as often as coaches who used to be players. Outside of sports, there are also doctors who have never had a baby themselves but deliver babies successfully everyday. The thing these experts without experience have is a dedication to study and a lifelong love of their field. They seem to be willing listeners and learners. It is definitely possible to be an expert without experience. As for whether it is true for certain areas and not others, see the rest of my answer below.

    Do you think this relates to your Christian walk? Can you be an expert at being a Christian? Or can you be an experienced Christian? Or can you be both?

    No. I once told a colleague who doesn't believe to read the Gospels to learn about Christ, then attempt to emulate Christ, not for one hour, day, week or month, but forever. I told him only after he's done this can he judge or tell Christians how to be perfect Christians. The point being that he too would most likely be one of the imperfect Christians that the world so loves to point fingers at. He was not an expert because he did not have experience and I think at that point, he realized as much. You might say that, as a Christian, I was speaking as an expert (because I have experience), in that scenario. Do I consider myself an expert to all, believer or non-believer, no. Jesus is the only expert to all, even Paul, who I would submit as a second example of an expert because of his before Christ and after Christ experience.

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