I think a lot. I don’t necessarily think deep thoughts, but I do think a lot and thinking is hard. It’s hard not because it consumes a considerable about of energy. It’s hard because it forces me to re-think the things I think and the things I value.
Recently I had an email conversation with one of my grandsons about thinking. He was talking about some things that were not necessarily good and we had a conversation about what he chooses to hold in his mind. I shared with him that I had stopped watching one of my “favorite” television shows because of what it made me think about. I liked the show. I liked the tension of the show. But I didn’t like what it made me think about and that was predominately violence and violent behavior. He understood what I said, but I’m not sure he understood the thinking behind what I said.
When I read different blogs, sit in a Bible study class, or read books or newspapers, I think intently on what I’m being exposed to. Often I begin to think about the premise for a particular observation or, if I may, a theological position. I regularly ask myself, “Does this person really believe what they’re saying or writing, or are they espousing something they believe will simply elicit a positive response or generate sales?” Much of it seems like the old adage “preaching to the choir.” Quite frankly, I don’t enjoy talking about what we’ve already agreed we believe, I want to talk about the hard things. The things that push the edge of the envelope. I want to push hard against the wall and see if it will hold up. If it does that’s great. If it doesn’t I want it to fall.
Unfortunately, finding people willing to have those conversations is getting less and less. There seems to be a reticence to talking about difficult issues. Often it seems to boil down to rudimentary conclusions, if you don’t believe like I believe than why should I hear what you have to say. For example, I could tell someone I’m a bit disappointed in God. Actually, more than a bit. Not so much for me (wink-wink), but for my wife. She’s been faithful, prayerful, helpful and dedicated in her walk with the Lord. But for some reason God chooses not to be leading her when it comes to finding a job. Petty I know, but it’s real life. She often prays that God would “show us, lead us, or help us understand.” Much to no avail. So I think about that a lot. I wonder why God would do that. Does he gather some delight in all of this? Are we being punished or disciplined in some way that only He knows? Is this yet another “test of our faith?” Seems to me we’ve passed that test a time or two. Are we not doing enough, giving enough or sacrificing enough? Wait, isn’t that a works kind of thing? If I do this God will do that? Oh my, my mind is hurting already!
In a world where information abounds it’s imperative that we think about what pushes against our brain. Is there value in what I’m reading, watching or listening to? Can what I read or hear be tainted by ideology or political persuasion to such a degree that it seldom resembles the truth? Oh man, there I go thinking again. This is hard.