“Think Different”

On my website proper, there is a quote from Ann Rice. It is one of my favorite quotes and has to do with being open to the truth – and recognizing the difference between seeking truth and seeking affirmation for what one already believes. I’ll include it at the end of this post.
I was praying for a very good friend of mine and his family. I haven’t seen him in a long time. I prayed that he would have an open mind and discerning heart, that he would recognize the history of the Church and how things have changed, and that the same or similar things are going on right now in the Church over a wide variety of issues. I prayed that he would be open to continual growth in God’s Truth, rather than seeking those things that will only confirm what he already believes.
Sometimes, that means that he (or any one of us) will be in a quite uncomfortable place. It is rarely comfortable when God challenges our understanding or belief or actions. In the end, as he and God work through the stuff, he may find that he has come back around and affirms what he originally thought or did, or he may believe differently. The difference is that he did the hard work of wrestling with his beliefs, wrestling with Truth, doing the hard work of growing-up in Christ, and being open to the Truth rather than simply and comfortably affirming current belief.
From my past experience, there is a huge hesitation (if not a bit of fear) among certain parts of the Church to delving into ideas or the writings of theologians or scholars that present significantly different perspectives because of the possibility of deception. There is strong belief that Satan and/or the systems of this world are always perched on the edge just waiting for the right opportunity to swoop down and plant deception in our minds, to corrupt our understanding of God and what is required of us and promised to us as children of God, and to supplant the Truth of God with a lie.
What this can lead to is stifled growth (not moving from spiritual milk to spiritual meat, moving from immaturity to maturity, even gaining more of the Christ-like heart and mind). What this does not mean is that being open to new ideas and concepts automatically or necessarily leads us to “liberalism,” agnosticism, heresy, or anything of the like. It can lead to deception and falsehood. It can also lead us to a fuller understanding of God’s Truth! We take a chance, but if an earthly father does not give his son who asks for a piece of bread a stone, how much more will our Father in heaven guard us (give to us) as we seek His Truth?
Too many of us simply don’t want to take the time or place ourselves in these uncomfortable places to reconsider what we currently believe. In the end, we may come back to what we already believed – I’ve experience that. We may also move into a different understanding – and I’ve done that. When we go through the process, we come by our convictions honestly, rather than simply accepting someone else’s understanding or being intellectually lazy.
What has not changed one way or another is my (and hopefully our) desire to know God, to honor God, to worship God, to love my neighbors, and to become the man that God created me to me – realizing my gifts, potential, abilities, and the places God can lead me.
Opening ourselves to new ideas and different ways of thinking does not mean we put ourselves in a place where we will be deceived. Yes, the possibility exists. If we seek God’s Truth and have faith that God desires us to know Truth, we have to acknowledge that what we believe right now could be wrong – no matter how comfortable it makes us. If we don’t, we are simply seeking those things and teachers that scratch our itching ears rather than allowing challenge to force growth in truth and maturity.
What I didn’t pray for is that he will believe a certain thing or way of thinking – that he will believe like me. I can be wrong. I prayed for God’s will to be done in his life and heart and mind.