This verse has been rattling around in my head this last week. I’ve been thinking a lot about how intellectualism is becoming very under-appreciated, and even sometimes scorned in both pop-culture and even some Christian circles. It seems truth is being cast out for the sake of experience. This certainly is not being helped by the mass media, and our excessive dependence on technology. There just seems to be a very strong devaluing of intellect.
Yet the biting irony is that in the midst of the unappreciation for intellect a host of people think they are intellectuals. Our culture has established a school system that feeds them whatever is popular at the moment and prevents them from thinking for themselves. Our media has created a mindset that tells people that they are experts on a topic if they’ve read a blog about it. Debate has degenerated into pathetic insults and name-calling. Somewhere along the line we’ve bought into the lie that if you can find something to criticize about something someone has done, then you’re automatically better than them, because of course it’s better to destroy than to create. Yet real, disciplined, critical thinking, constructivity, and truth-seeking are being steadily forgotten.
The reason I’ve been pondering that verse I quoted is because I found it tremendously encouraging. It is part of a promise about what God is going to do in the lives of His people. It’s an awesome thought that God is not content to leave us in our errant thinking. Truth is important to Him, and He will therefore make it known. After all, Jesus flat our called Himself “the Truth” (John 14:6). I think God is honoured when we seek out the Truth. Seeking Truth requires thought. It is never meant to be a mindless task.
Following Christ requires more from us than warm fuzzy feelings and doing nice things. As He said, part of the greatest command is to love the Lord your God with
“all of your mind. . . ” Admittedly this is easier said than done, though it is possible. We live in a shallow world, among people that cannot distinguish a convincing argument from unintelligable babble. For example, our culture thinks that something like Twilight is better than Charles Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities. Yet that shouldn’t stop us.
I just wonder what sort of people we would be if took some time out of our day, logged off of facebook, put down the cell phone, turned off the X-box, and spent some time simply thinking, reading a challenging book (think the Odyssey, or Augustine’s Confessions, not Twilight), and actually learning something interesting. I just wonder how much more meaningful our relationships would be if we spent time discussing the things that matter to us, instead of sitting in a dark cinema staring at a screen for three hours. I wonder how much better our thinking and focusing abilities would be if we spent time examining a book instead of doing 50 different things on the internet at once.
Although I am definitely not against most technology, I do think there is a danger of it cheapening a lot of valuable things. For instance, instant messaging, though sometimes a good thing, will never be able to replace a conversation in person. Facebook will never be able to replace the sound of a person’s voice, the expressions of their face, the warmth of their hug, etc. The internet has opened the door to a myriad of information, and that definitely has some good sides to it, yet at the same time it has made it more difficult for us to focus on and retain that information. Cars are great things that help us save time and travel greater distances, yet most Americans have this mindset that now we can’t walk anywhere. Sometimes we need to stop trading away real life-experience for convenience.
I guess my point is this, maybe it’s time to disconnect from whatever it is that is distracting us and reconnect with reality. I’ve been starting to realize that God desires depth, including intellectual depth, in our relationship with Him. Maybe it’s time to shut off the computer and just spend some time thinking, glorifying God with the mind He gave you. So yeah, thanks for reading my blog, but maybe you should go read a book instead, or go for a hike and ponder the complexities of life or something. Time is a beautiful gift, use it wisely.