i drove to okoboji this past weekend to be part of a men’s retreat on having a heart for God. looking at the life of David. old stories that i’ve heard many times. facing our giants. the seduction of the heart. a man after God’s own heart. my friend Lee took these old stories on with some fresh insights and it was moving to me. and then there were personal stories from others about where we live and breathe right now. how we deal with issues of fear and courage and passion and other workings of our hearts.
i think of human behavior. the psychology of learning. and often times for us human types, with repetition comes numbness. “neurons respond to novelty, and what ceases to be novel ceases to cause neurons to fire.” we hear something new and fresh and it finds it’s way inside us. more easily. more deeply perhaps than something we’ve heard before. especially something we’ve heard numerous times. new presentation sometimes has the ability to get past our defenses. like when i’m trying to talk with our kids about some topic or situation and they say, “i know, dad. i know.” once we’ve heard something and think we know it, we shut a part of ourselves off to it. from it. “i know.”“Genuine ignorance is profitable, because it is likely to be accompanied by humility, curiosity, and open mindedness; whereas ability to repeat catch-phrases, cant terms, familiar propositions, gives the conceit of learning and coats the mind with varnish, waterproof to new ideas.” John Dewey
those words: humility. curiosity. open mindedness. those are traits i want to have in my life. if my experience. my learning causes conceit inside of me. causes a coat or two of varnish on the outside of me. makes me waterproof to some degree. then perhaps the ravages of the environs around me need to rain and blow. the sun to scorch. and freeze and thaw in such a way that the varnish, the paint cracks and peels enough that new and fresh can be let inside. that humility can allow me to be teachable. the curiosity can allow me to see some new possibilities. that open-mindedness can allow me to see some new facet of the glory of God. rather than to make the smug assumption that i know it all. “i know, dad. i know.”
i stopped and snapped some photos on the way home from okoboji. in the driving wind and rain. a couple of run down churches along the way. this window caught my eye. with its layers of paint and peeling and chipped putty holding the glass in its place. the protection of layers of paint, some of which pulls off with the ravages of north iowa weather changes. the stuff that i let in makes a substantial difference on the quality of what i give back out. varnish. paint. layers. these affect the flow in both directions. what gets in? what gets through? what finds its way back out? if i let things affect me only on the surface. only on a shallow level. what i have to give back is likely only surface and shallow.
humility, curiosity, open mindedness versus conceit, varnish, waterproof.
could i recommend a book? refreshing. challenging. inspiring. Wild Goose Chase by Mark Batterson www.chasethegoose.com