Wednesday, February 19, 2014

With All Your Mind

I grew up in the country.  I wouldn't trade that for anything.  I had a wonderful childhood.  My parents made sure I knew how to raise animals and help my grandfather with his corn, peas and potatoes.  But they also made sure that I had a well-rounded education.  My parents are the kind of people who raise cattle AND attend classical music concerts, so they wanted me to know things beyond my small world.  They made sure I was well-read.  I had many excellent teachers, and my parents insisted I listen to them.  Many of our vacations were to historical sites.  My dad especially was good about teaching me to question my assumptions.  If I came home spouting some opinion I had picked up from my friends, he would ask me questions that would often show me how I hadn’t really thought that idea through.  And when I came to the end of my high school years, my parents didn’t insist that I stay home and go to Victoria College so they could keep an eye on me, or send me to some “safe” college where everyone thought just like I did.  They were fine with me choosing a University in a big city, where I would be surrounded by all types of people.  My mom told me, “This is the way the world is.  You need to learn how to relate to all kinds of people.”  Unfortunately, not everyone in my small town thought that way.  I had been raised to be intellectually curious, but I felt like I needed to keep that to myself around most of my friends, and even a lot of the adults I knew.  If I happened to use a word that was longer than two syllables, people acted like I had made a faux pas. I remember at times being frustrated by the small-mindedness of my rural surroundings. When I left that behind and came to a college environment with people who were excited about learning, and who didn't think exactly like me, it felt like liberation.  
So I can relate to young adults today who are leaving the Church in droves.  Many of them say they feel like Christianity is intellectually confining and closed-minded.  They learn new things in their studies or in conversations with people who aren’t Christians, things which they haven’t heard in church.  When they ask questions to try to reconcile this new information with Scripture, too often they are made to feel ashamed, as if asking questions is a bad thing.  They hear from their non-Christian friends and professors that faith and reason are two separate fields; they increasingly begin to feel like to continue following Jesus will mean turning off their brains, and they simply cannot do that.  If you feel that way, or know someone who does, this next sentence is very important: Jesus never made anyone choose between their brain and their faith. 

We’re in a series now called “The Man Who Changed Everything.”  We’re looking at the continuing impact Jesus made on the world.  Last week, we looked at how Jesus changed the way we view needy people. This Sunday, we’re going to look at how Jesus changed the way we think.  We'll talk about what it means to love God with all our minds.  I hope you'll be there!

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