I got to thinking at my desk this AM, in splendid solitude in one of the teacher’s rooms, surrounded by empty turtle cases and dying plants, about the source of one’s ideas. Obviously they come in large part from outside ourselves, even though our marvelous mind comes into the world with a lot of ideas of its own, which are added to, developed, corrected, replaced, etc. And there are just two kinds of minds or rational beings, whether human or spiritual (God, Satan, angels – good or bad), so it’s a constant “battle” or contest, even when we are sleeping, as to what kind of thoughts and ideas are going to enter our heads – right or wrong.
We go to school to accumulate as many right ideas as possible from people who presumably have them, and we seek the companionship of people (friends, etc) who can do the same for us (and we, hopefully, for them). Unfortunately, through work and other unavoidable contacts we are thrown into, a lot of people have kookie ideas. We do our best to laugh them off and ignore them, or resist them if they have appeal. But, unfortunately, we tend to absorb and adopt even what we once dismissed as nuts, if the idea is repeated often enough by enough people.
On that score, it has helped me to read newspapers more critically, consisting as they do for the most part of the negative and bad; given enough reports of evil and pretty soon you aren’t upset about it all any more, or even think it is so bad – like abortion, divorce or even murder, on the highways, say.
And it has been no great struggle to pass up TV and most of its offerings, with such reasoning as – would you really invite guys like the late night hosts to your house, especially repeatedly? But that is what we do via TV, and a lot of people’s thinking (really that of their copywriters, who are often an unprincipled bunch) rubs off on oneself.
This has helped me to as much serious readings as I have, when I stop to think that buying and reading a book by some brain, be it regarding astronomy or psych or Christianity, is also the same as having him in your house for hours, giving you his best ideas and stated in his best possible fashion.
All of which leads up to saying that a guy is only shortchanging himself by neglecting the blessed Book which God himself wrote for the particular purpose of telling us how he operates in our lives, what we are like, etc. Any one of us would fall all over himself if Christ, who is God in human form, were available to us for an hour’s conversation, or even a “bull session” of a few moments, the way be bat the fat over “coffee break” or a coke at night, etc. But that’s exactly what reading the Bible is all about.
It is simply amazing what marvelous insights you get from letting God talk to you through it. Not just what it says obviously, by way of good directions for one’s life, but what is “in between the lines” by way of sparking thoughts of your own. People who’s only acquaintance with the Bible is largely through such go-betweens as the preacher and his insights, never get beyond him in their thinking, and they allow such limited folk to set their own levels of spiritual understanding and growth. So be your own preacher; your own priest. Be a Melchizedek, says Hebrews, to whom a man like Abraham (whom we make so much of in sermon series, baptism forms, etc.) bowed down, recognized as superior, closer to God, more godlike, more of a “man.” Be your own man, is what I am saying. Unlike many Christians, go beyond your own folks in this regard; build on them. Correct where they were wrong. Elaborate and think through what they had in “seed” form. Hand on more to your kids than what was handed on to you. Too long we have regarded the “faith” as something of a package to be passed on, unimproved. We parents fail if we don’t give our kids more than what our folks gave us. Most parents, even Christian ones, are satisfied to give more to their kids by way of education, money, than they were given. Nuts on that noise. Or, as Jesus said better, “Do both! Pass on more (of the good) in every area.”