Learning to think…again

A friend asked me to repost this thought here.  For what its worth…

As a culture, we are becoming more and more digitized. Information is processed in only “bite” (yes, that is a bad pun) sized pieces. This translates to the average Christ follower by learning theology and orthopraxy from tweets, FB posts, and blogs. Some of these are great and can be used as a supplement. It is far better, however, to do the hard work of developing a biblical grid through which to press all other information. If you don’t, you risk becoming an orthodoxy snycretist who uses bits and pieces to construct a system of belief that makes sense to us (Rom 1).

Since we have Wikipedia we don’t need to read books or listen to talks anymore. On top of not having good guard rails to process information we are losing the ability to synthesize information on our own. Our minds, more and more, require spoon feeding; with all the pertinent information completely broken down and pre-digested.

Again, while the above sources do of course have their place, there are two things they can’t or don’t do. First, they aren’t peer reviewed or scrutinized by credible editors or publishers. The very definition of a “wiki” is,
“A Web site developed collaboratively by a community of users, allowing any user to add and edit content.” It is group think. You can add to wikipedia posts. Books, on the other hand, have to go through a process of fact checking before they are printed. The more academic the book, the more carefully the information is published. You must still be careful, though Secondly, they aren’t the Bible. Too many Christ followers can quote their favorite blogger or online pastor (who incidentally does not care about them) regarding what the scripture says long before they could actually quote the indefatigable Word.

What’s next? Develop the spiritual discipline of the mind. If you can think, you can do this! Discipline of the mind is not reserved for the academic elite. Do some research (NOT wiki research :)) on “individual soul liberty” and see what you come up with. Ask God to help you with this development. Look for ways to stretch and strengthen your God-given ability to think and reason. Read a book that is “over your head”. Think about the progression a child makes. They start with milk or formula, move to mush, then crackers and Cheerios, and eventually, as they mature, they can have meat! I am so glad my diet does not still consist only of mush and crackers. Be a mental carnivore! Chew on something substantial. Lastly, learn to ask good questions. Whenever you read or hear or take in any information you should be developing critical thinking skills. Critical thinking skills really ask the “how” and “why” questions. When you hear preaching or read a book be asking questions in your mind. “Why did she write that”? “How did he get that application from that text”? “How does what what I am reading/hearing fit in the grid of Scripture”? “Does it fit”? “Should it be rejected or accepted”? These are just a few. The ability will help you as you read to biblically process. Even books like commentaries need to be processed through the Bible – remember they are not the Bible!

The words of II Corinthians 10:4-5 is a good place to end. “The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ”.

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