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Putting Time Aside To Think

In a society that sometimes prides itself in its knowledge, could we think that we are more thoughtful than we actually are? The truth is that few of us put aside time to truly think about issues that face us politically, religiously or ethically.

Most of us tend to rush through our busy weeks just hanging in there, rather than reflecting, critiquing and formulating proper opinions and so, too often, we respond to issues emotionally rather than carefully. We hear of great swings in opinion with regards to politics, religion, or behaviour, and we find that we’ve changed.

What we once would have stood up for, we no longer do. What we once would never have considered as normal behaviour for us or for our society becomes normal. Under the influence of increased exposure to opinion through the media, both organised and social, we find that we have shifted.

A shift often made not because of new data, or persuasive arguments well presented, but because of the “tide of public opinion”. Such a reality should ring should ring alarm bells for us. This path has often been taken in history with disastrous consequences.

Wars have been fought, oppressions legitimised, countless lives ruined, and then inevitably too late, apologies made. 0f course, the Church has not been immune from the same disorder that afflicts our wider society even though the Bible warns about this repeatedly.

It says we should seek unity, knowledge and maturity in Christ in Ephesians 4:14 for then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming. Psalm 1 famously looks at the same issue, and vividly, so does Jude 11 – 13.

Our great thinkers too, have warned about the dangers of thoughtlessness. Consider these:

Rarely do we find men who willingly engage in hard, solid thinking. There is an almost universal quest for easy answers and half-baked solutions. Nothing pains some people more than having to think

Thinking is the hardest work there is, which is probably the reason why so few engage in it. Martin Luther King Jnr

Few people think more than two or three times a year. I have made an international reputation for myself by thinking once or twice a week. Henry Ford

Right now, and in the days to come we will increasingly be asked our opinion with regards to environmental, social, economic, ethical and even religious policy. Our world is shifting at an unprecedented rate, and the questions that we must ask ourselves are, are we prepared for the increased responsibility? Have we thought about this direction or issue in a manner that befits its importance? George Bernard Shaw

As Christians we must be people who value thinking and we also must be people who have our thinking shaped by God’s word even if those around us do not value it because, in the end, we do have to take responsibility for what happens now and for our children.