I wonder just why our Lord and Father cares so much. One small example this morning.
a) Begin morning reading and quiet time
b) Break for household routine
c) Take advantage of break for extended comfort break
d) Read BBC news on tablet (multi-tasking!!)
e) Absorb a news magazine article on cognitive dissonance
f) Ponder “belief structure” and our resistance to changing our own beliefs
g) Come back to morning verses and quiet time
h) See something completely new
i) Go “Wow”. Say “Thank you”
j) Ponder again – how does this “God stuff” all work?
The BBC news article was: “Chilcot: why we cover our ears to the facts”
Why do we “cover our ears”, when presented with factual evidence and reasoning, find within it reinforcement for our own beliefs – even when the evidence and reasoning is at odds with those beliefs?
The term is “reframing”.
We make the facts fit. We fit the facts to our beliefs – not the other way around. And when the evidence is overwhelming? Not a problem. We just reframe and reframe – remaining secure that we are right (and they are wrong). Sounds a lot like work life and church life to me – sounds a lot like life and living.
And what were the verses in the middle of this adventure?
“‘The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which someone found and hid; then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field. ‘Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls; on finding one pearl of great value, he went and sold all that he had and bought it.” Matthew 13:44-46
Always I have been taught “treasure” and “pearls”. The focus always on value. Valuable property. Something beyond comparison to anything else we might ever have. Winning the jackpot. Becoming a billionaire. The greatest reward for becoming (and being) a good Christian! And if I haven’t seen being saved that way – then I must be missing the point.
(And I have been! Because all this “ownership stuff” never sat right with me. And the “field bit” always confused me: finding and hiding seems at odds with the “being a light to the world”. And the “selling all he had” to buy the pearl – how did that help his family when they couldn’t buy bread anymore?)
This morning He flipped all that. God Soft Hands Jesus gave me something I have never seen:
My looking, my searching, my journeying … THAT is the key.
The desire to look, to search, to journey … that is the key to finding this “treasure”. And when I stop looking, searching, journeying – that is when I begin reframing “stuff” which comes along. That is when I start making the facts fit. That is when I become inert.
And is this when discernment becomes “making the facts fit” (or “faith by sight” as I think of it)?
Cognitive dissonance and reframing.
Have we good Christians come to believe that it is only the unwashed and unsaved who suffer this condition? That “we” have found the answer and are now immune from such “worldly stuff”?
(and then He moved me on again … “So what , Paul?”)
“Love is always the answer” comes to mind again. Because love that is unconditional has a hard job making “the facts fit”. Because love that is unconditional doesn’t make very much fit at all. Other than allowing everyone to “fit” – allowing all to be welcome (and leaving our God Soft Hands Jesus to worry about the details).
And already I hear the murmured reframing: “But the Bible says … ” And that is valid.
As is “group think” – as is “we” have found the truth – as is “and the truth is this” – as is “and the truth is greater than any of us – so stop rocking the boat.” Which is why I wonder – just where does “discernment” end and “reframing” begin?
(So aren’t you “reframing” your belief in “love is always the answer”, Paul?)
My own thought is no.
My own thought is that every time I think I have the answer – then “love is always the answer” demands that I include someone else, allow someone else, connect with someone else, listen to someone else, see God Soft Hands Jesus in more and more details, more and more people, more and more of everything – become less “me” and more “Him”.
And how can I do that if I have stopped searching, looking, and journeying?