Pastor’s eNote: Is An Open Mind Possible?

An open mind requires humility enough to ask “what if they’re right and I’m not?” And before the comments begin…I’m reflecting on the Bible study last night, week 3 of The Case for Easter.

One of the most interesting points in last night’s study, for me, was “the criterion of embarrassment”. This is the idea that the fact our first four Gospels in the New Testament include information embarrassing to the main players in the story shows a willingness to share the facts regardless of the embarrassment. The facts matter too much. And that requires humility on the part of those present. The disciples who shared their story didn’t come out golden with the doubts the running away, denying, not believing Mary when she delivered her message from the Risen Lord. Yet, those disciples shared that story prepared to die doing so. They told a story that showed how human they are, capable of making big mistakes and missing the mark and disappointing God himself. Yet all that pales in comparison with what it all means for us. We need to know. And the truth is, every detail matters including Jesus reliance on those very human human beings to tell it like it is.

Eye witnesses who knew Jesus best were not believed. Until they were. It took extraordinary events that left people even more fearful, and some downright angry, to change their minds.

Why do you think Jesus talked so much about the importance of believing in God and also in him? What we believe holds power in our life. It’s the basis for every decision.

Now, think about how we view embarrassing stories of others today. Instantly, anything embarrassing, even when that person isn’t that person any longer, casts them in unfavorable light. “I can’t believe that story because she told it and she has a checkered past.” “Yeah, they’ve got more letters after their name than a box of Alpha Bits, but they did drugs in college so I can’t believe anything they say.” Well, Jesus gave a woman (with a checked past) the truth and the chance to share it, and she left the well immediately and told the people she’d been avoiding all about him and brought them to Jesus. The Mary Jesus spoke to at the tomb and sent to tell the disciples she had seen him had many demons driven out of her. So…if Jesus himself can believe in them enough to MAKE them messengers, who do I think I am judging the message by the messenger? I have to tread lightly there. If the kid from down the street with green hair and nose rings runs up to you as you walk into the grocery store shouting, your house is on fire…but you ignore him. And an hour later your neighbor runs up to you as you leave the grocery store frantic, saying that your house burned down…did you miss the timing God set in motion on purpose for a purpose because of your feeings and opinions about the messenger? Or the message? Did you consider the message or were you too busy staring at the noserings, which, to be fair, can be mesmerizing.

Why do we do this when we claim we love our neighbor as self? How can we forget to cheer on our fellow man when they succeed in life after a tough start? Are we jealous? I don’t know.

It used to be the underdog rising to defeat their own demons and go on to success, giving God the glory was the story we loved to share. Not now. Not if their story includes people we don’t like or we don’t think much of. And that’s a closed mind kind of thinking. Critical, but not the definition of Critical Thinking.

Definition of Critical Thinking from Cambridge dictionary: the process of thinking carefully about a subject or idea, without allowing feelings or opinions to affect you

When was the last time you considered anything carefully without allowing feelings or opinions affect you? What have you seen or read or heard that made you immediately judge, “That’s not possible”?

Considering the possibilities becomes much easier when we humble ourselves and admit that we do not know what we do not know. What is possible? What am I missing that God needs for me to see, learn, and share? 🤔

Truth…I still have a lot to learn. Amen.