The carpenter in me sees the word “threshold” and immediately a transition strip or door trim of some kind comes to mind. The Kinesiologist in me sees “threshold” as a maximum output or delineation of a new system in the body activating. The student in me sees something completely unique in regard to learning and understanding and I am drawn to the word “threshold” because of its multi-dimensional identity.
I like to break barriers in many ways and see what is on the other side. Understanding a concept that was previously unknown to me feels good. It also inspires me to continue to learn and not give up when I’m approached by a learning threshold or barrier. Studying the Concept of Thresholds this week has opened my eyes to the unique boundaries that surround me and the people I lead and influence. When analyzing learning concepts and thresholds, I find it interesting that people learn in so many different ways, and in some cases, I find it frustrating. I often wonder how can someone miss something so obvious? My wife is a perfect example of active learning and her thresholds on certain subjects can be 180 degrees different from mine. Even though she is the smartest person I know, she misses a lot of what I would consider common sense and does not “see the Dalmatian” in the picture or even get the joke in most cases that my daughter and I inherently can’t stop laughing at.
The reading from Meyer and Land, “Overcoming Barriers to Student Understanding,” opened up my eyes in many ways to identifying threshold concepts.  Chapter five put a halt on my reading and writing and sent me down a rabbit hole of processing for a lot of my day. I was reminded of the quote from Socrates, “you don’t know what you don’t know” and realized there have been many philosophers who share similar yet slightly different views on knowledge and thresholds. Aristotle famously wrote, “The more you know, the more you realize you don’t know.” Confucius is quoted saying “to know what you know and what you do not know, that is true knowledge.” I believe these quotes are true but often individuals including myself fall into the trap of assumptions and naive opinions that we perceive as fact. This is dangerous and will get us in trouble according to Mark Twain, “it ain’t what you don’t know that gets you in trouble. It’s what you know for sure that just ain’t so.”
In my own life, I have noticed I am naturally drawn to creative learning however I do enjoy active and social learning by myself or with a small group. Regardless of the method, I need to arrive at an understanding that lies on the other side of the barrier somehow. If I’m stuck on a concept, for example, a Biblical view that is deep and obscure; I have noticed that I am often forced to change my method and point of reference and in many cases invite the Spirit into the struggle so my eyes might be opened to see something I’ve missed. I believe spiritual learning is a concept that also helps overcome barriers and offers understanding and interpretation that will limit thresholds or barriers. I am finding myself using this technique more often in my life than in the traditional disciplines. Recognizing these barriers and thresholds is the key to unlocking the door to new understandings. Inviting the Spirit into the learning process for wisdom and guidance is an essential step that is often overlooked.
In the video “Breaking Through: Threshold Concepts as a Key to Understanding” by Robert Coven, he mentioned approximately 4:44 seconds in, that “there is a paradox in time when you know what you’re looking for and you can forget the time in which you didn’t know. You can’t go back.” He explains that once you have crossed a certain threshold, you can’t unlearn it. It’s also the reason “teachers can’t truly empathize with their students.” We can’t un-see something or unlearn something. Therefore we can’t truly relate to the behaviors in which students learn until they have crossed the threshold themselves. I agree with this philosophy and immediately started to contemplate faith and thresholds in Christianity, however, I’m still struggling with individuals who have faith and then lose it somehow? Did they unlearn faith, not practice it, or some other reason that made them revert in their knowledge of God, Jesus, or the Holy Spirit?
I believe Christians or people with a sense of Christianity settle too often when faced with a barrier in their understanding. Sometimes we settle for a misunderstanding of a subject and do not pursue the crossing of the threshold. Why do some people reach a certain threshold and accept the barrier as impossible? Why do we give up instead of pressing forward or write it off as an unidentifiable interpretation, error, or as cultural understanding that doesn’t impact us today? It’s because our world settles. Our western culture settles. We want whatever we want, we want it now and we don’t want to dig deep. The world is easily influenced and also lazy in many ways. I believe it’s our job as leaders to anticipate barriers, understand methods for overcoming obstacles, teach in a manner that many can understand, and seek the Kingdom as our number one priority in life and in knowledge so we can gain the Spirit’s perspective first.
The problem is that many who call themselves Christians have settled and do not realize they are just at a threshold than can be overcome. The awareness of the threshold or obstacle is half the battle yet too often we move on and do not optimize our knowledge or understanding. Just like in exercise there is a new system that gets turned on but we ignore it. People in the gym assume that the harder they work on a cardio machine, the greater the benefit; although study after study proves that awareness of our thresholds through heart rates will produce greater results. This is the same for Christianity. Most study what they want, not where they’re led. Most read the Bible on the surface instead of with deep hermeneutic techniques. We do not dive deep enough into the Word, we don’t invite the Spirit in, and we settle for assumptions and superficial Christianity. Jim Morrison may have said it best. We need to “break on through to the other side.”
 Meyer, Jan, and Ray Land. 2012. Overcoming Barriers to Student Understanding : Threshold Concepts and Troublesome Knowledge. London ; Mew York: Routledge.
 Coven, Robert. 2018. “Breaking Through: Threshold Concepts as a Key to Understanding | Robert Coven | TEDxCaryAcademy.” Www.youtube.com. November 18, 2018. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GCPYSKSFky4.