Tuesday, October 11, 2011

It's Not Either / Or

But What Matters Most?

Somewhere over the Rocky Mountains at 37,000 feet I developed a theory.  Last Thursday Pam and I were boarded Delta Airlines and headed east for ten days of connecting with friends from Fairview, Oklahoma.  Dozing never comes easy to me during air travel and I usually thumb my way through the airline's publication found in the pocket on the back of the seat in front of me.  A capitalized slogan in the lower right hand corner of an ad posted in the magazine by a university caught my attention.  It wasn't until I backtracked slowly through the publication, to make sure I had read it right, that I began to evaluate the truth of that motto.  There is was, beckoning parents and prospective students to consider enrolling in an institution of higher learning:  HEARTS MATTER ... MINDS RULE.

The human beings God created are far more complex than I or anyone else can completely comprehend. But we can at least know that each possesses a heart and a mind, given to them by a God who also gifted them with an ability to exercise a will of their own.  It's not whether we have either a heart or mind, but more a question of which one matters most.

I'm convinced that the slogan of that university, as learned as they are, is out of order.  It is backwards. Minds do NOT rule, but they do matter.  Since education has become idolized in my western culture, and generally thought to be the remedy and cure for what ails the world and individuals, it stands to reason that the mind has become an object of worship.  Many have elevated the mind to this place of superiority. Not wanting to eliminate the heart of man as something that matters, these sanctuaries of "higher" education want to make it clear that it is the MIND that rules.

h  Hearts Rule  
If this faith in the resources-of-the-mind theory is true then it would make sense for Pam and me to prioritize and focus on education for our African friends.  Our faith would have to be in shaping their thinking and giving them information/education in order to change them, their world, and their nation.  The problem with this strategy is that we would have to abandon the faith we have placed in the ability of God to  transform people, their world, and nations through heart changes ... one person at a time.

Let me go one step further with this bias of MINDS MATTER BUT HEARTS RULE.  I have also been contemplating the role and affect of accountability on a person's life.  I have a ... let me call it a-theory-for-you-until-proven-truth ... belief that accountability falls a step short of life change.  It seems to be a mechanism for behavior management.  It produces a wall around a person's life in some area of their life in which they have not yet experienced a change of heart and come under the Holy Spirit's control.  One of my acquaintances wrote about the reason for the bars at a zoo to contain a tiger.  Those bars are necessary in order for the tiger to be viewed by visitors, but from the safety provided by the bars.  If the nature of the tiger was changed there would be no need for the bars and they could be removed.

Grateful for the protection and motivation which accountability may provide for some, the ultimate desire of God is to transform a person's heart ... to change their nature.  As a part of the New Creation of 2 Corinthians 5:17 a believer's nature should be under constant construction.  Many opt for the support of an individual or group to assist them in the management of the behavior or protection for them from their addictions or compulsiveness.  It puts them behind protective and productive bars, but may leave their nature untouched.  Hopefully, it will lead to a heart renovation as old things pass away and new things come.,

In a culture idolizing the power of education to change a person there is the recognition that the way a person thinks will affect their behavior.  But behind the way a person thinks is what a person believes. And, belief is a matter of the heart ... and that is what matters most.

ON ANOTHER NOTE:  Pam and I have new cell phone numbers.

Pam - 503-550-4691 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting            503-550-4691      end_of_the_skype_highlighting and Paul - 971-832-4664 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting            971-832-4664      end_of_the_skype_highlighting

Please feel free to call us anytime!

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