Posts Tagged ‘how to think like a Christian’

The New York Times recently ran an article explaining the rise of a voting base in the U.S. that is “characterized by a desire to shut out the world, ruthlessly promote American interests, reject cooperation and meet threats with overwhelming force.”

This constituency is afraid, angry and isolated. They want to close the door.

I’m not.


Because I’m a Christian.  Jesus said to go into the whole world and love people of all nations and bring the forgiveness and concern of Christ to them all.

You can’t do that if you shut the whole world out.

Christian’s aren’t called to promote only their own interests. Christians aren’t called to isolate themselves from people who are different from them. Christians aren’t called to fear and hate and harm. We would do well to remember that in the Old Testament God opposed and judged the nations who were overly harsh and brutal in battle with other nations.

According to Jesus, we Chritians are the people of the other cheek, we are the people of go-into-the-whole world, we are the people who are to be known for their compassion, their generosity and their love. Yes, we protect the weak and innocent, no we don’t shut out the world.

I’ve gotten out a little, as a Christian — to Nicaragua, to South Africa, to Swaziland, to Italy, to Canada, to Brazil, to Puerto Rico, to Mexico, to England and to France — and from the small slice of the world that I’ve seen, the nations are full of beautiful people, people just like me, people who enrich and add to me whenever I get to know them, people with the same hurts and hopes that I have.

Worshiping in Zulu in Johannesburg, in Spanish in Mexico City, in Portugese in Campinas, in English in London, I have been overwhelmed with a powerful, deep and meaningful connection with the nations. There is someting profound beyond words about how much we have in common with others who are different from us, rather  about how different we are from those who are the same as us.

Unfortunately, some Christians leave their Chritianity at the slamed door when they enter the political battlefield. But closed doors, closed minds and closed hearts  — there is nothing Christian about that.


We should all keep looking down, and up and out, and observing fastidiously the world we live in. We should see what is there, not what we want to be there or think is there.

Dealing in reality is so much better than dealing in comfortable fictions, fables, want-to-be resurrances, imagined interpretations, what we hope is true.

Reality, life as it is is fun, and you can learn a lot from it.

I just finished a biography of William Smith 1769-1839), the father of modern geology. What a hoot! The guy was high on what was low, the rocks, fossils and strata that were below his feet in Industrialized England.

Coal and canals to carry it gave him a life work, and it granted him access to the geological underworld and he went down into the digs and mines with gusto and figured it out.

Here is what he came up with, in his own words.

Fossil Shells had long been known amongst the curious, collected with care, and preserved in their cabinets, along with other rarities of nature, without any apparent use. That to which I have applied them is new, and my attention was first drawn to them, by a previous discovery of regularity in the direction and dip of the various Strata in the hills around Bath; for it was the nice distinction which those similar rocks required, which led me to the discovery of organic remains peculiar to each Stratum.”

This was the finding that became known as Smith’s Principle of Faunal Succession. Today it appears in geology textbooks the world over. The fossils and the layers they appear in give us a chronology for the millions of years it took for earth to come to it’s present geological state.

At the time, Christians were stuck with Archbishop  Ussher’s theory that the earth began in 4004 BC and was only about 6,000 years old. That was wrong. The Bible never said that. The Bible never gave us a chronology  for creation’s timeline. It told us that God did it; it didn’t tell how. And yet, believe it or not, there are still a few Christians who hold on to the idea that the earth is 6,000 years. There are tons of evidence, layers and layers of evidence to the contrary. All the evidence is to the contrary. God took a long time to make the universe and the earth. And afterwards, he didn’t create the appearance of age, (why would he traffic in smoke and mirrors) and it was aged.

I see this long, changing process of geology as giving God even more glory than a short and quick, wam and slam and bam creation. I could go on about this, but I won’t, because I just want to point out that there is a simple lesson here and it is very scriptural. “Consider the ant.”  

In other words, open  your eyes. See what is. Don’t get stuck in old mind-sets that don’t make sense, that lack common sense, that don’t jive with reality. Use you eyes, observe nature,  be the wisdom sage scholar the Bible recommends you be, commited  to truth, to empiricism, to observation and to reality — the best you can — and attempt to unbiasedly understand what you see.


“Do you catch the tone of this?” David asked me.

“What’s the tone?” I asked him. I had memorized this piece when I was four years old. I had never forgotten it. I had brought it to mind again and again over the years, sucking some kind of truth sap and meaning from it, some kind of rational safety from it, but I had never, ever once thought about its tone.

“The tone indicates that this is not optional,” he said. “It says, ‘Trust in the Lord with all you heart.‘ Do you see that? ‘And lean not on your own understanding.’ It isn’t an option, to trust or not; we are commanded to trust, and it says ‘in all your ways acknowledge him.‘ This is really serious. It’s about being humble enough to not think just anything we want, but to trust God and his thinking.”

I had never thought about Proverbs 3:5 quite like this before, never seen the demand it put on me in quite this way. To me this proverb has always been a kind of map for how to live, but I haven’t really thought of it as a command for how to live.  It is a command — to join the rationality of God!

David and I were doing a study together. I was the mentor; he was the student. But suddenly, with his keep powers of perception and insight, the roles were reversed, as they so often are when we try to teach someone something, and he, a new Christian, was mentoring me, a crusty old professional seer.


“And it has a promise in it,” he said. “He’ll make your path straight.”

“I’ve experience that part,” I thought. Then a complication passed through my head. “Does this mean we stop thinking?” I asked, “that our mind is supposed to follow God blindly, and be a blank slate?”

“Not at all,” he insisted immediately. “God still expects us to apply what he has shown us”

A kind of picture passed before me. A person, entering into a whole different mindset than what existed within their own circle of thoughts, a person encountering intense rationality —  wise, clear, rational thinking, from God —  and  beginning to think in his vein, thinking straight-up, thinking super meticulously, thinking with impeccable logic, with super sanity, with a fascinating perspicacity, because they were thinking along with the best mind in the cosmos — God’s.

Here’s the deal, from David, the new guy who knows how to think.

It’s not optional, as a Christian, to not be rational with the very rationality of God. It is not optional to not trust in the kind of thinking that God is thinking.

Think with God! It’s a command. I’m good with that.