Wednesday, April 18, 2007

The Renewing of a Mind

Score one more for the fellowship of the saints.

I went to a meeting of the brothers in my church last night with a viewpoint about something. I came out of that meeting with a totally different viewpoint. My belief about the issue (doesn't matter what it was) didn't fundamentally change. But my viewpoint, the way I looked at it, changed. How did that happen?

I spent days leading up to that meeting unintentionally hashing and rehashing the issue in my head. I probably had a dozen imaginary conversations (you know you do that, too!) in which I hammered out what I thought about this thing. Without intending to get worked up about anything, I was stuck on this thing and kinda dreaded going to that meeting.

Then my brothers welcomed my comments. They gave me a safe place (that sounds so "Oprah") to say what I needed to say, and they responded to it. Every one of them. In my group, that's not very many, but they were 100% functioning. I'm sure that for them it seemed like a small discussion about something minor, but inside me I was battling all kinds of demons and ideologies. So for me it was very needed. It was precious. When the meeting was over, I had gained one of the most valuable things I could have received at that moment: A different way of looking at something.

There are always multiple levels to things, you know? Life is complex, so single-mindedness just doesn't work. But that's what comes natural to me, because I'm a male.

Did you know that a male has only half as many connections between the two halves of his brain as a woman has? The net effect is that women can multitask better than men. I also think it enables them to see two sides to issues better than men. We have "tunnel vision" sometimes because it's how we're wired. We take one thought and crown it king. All other thoughts must bow in humble submission to the one thought that we have enthroned. In the end we take everything to its extreme position and call that "truth." We are principle-driven.

But then I step into a room of other men called to the same calling. We deal with each other's differing ideas and we seek the Lord together until we find that our independent little minds have found a way to transcend themselves. We realize that we may not be seeing everything, and we see how much we need the input of the rest of the body in order to do what we do. It's like the eye realizing that the nose has information that may help. I need my brothers for this very thing.

So thanks, brothers.


Blogger Jeremy Uriz said...

It was obvious that you had given consideration to the issues at hand but I would never have guessed you had been contemplating it for days.

I hope you know that from my perspective having you here (and speaking your mind( is worth it's weight in gold (or Peanut M&M's).

8:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I second that motion.

Neil, you are a treasure of a brother.

2:55 PM  
Blogger Neil said...

Gosh, thanks fellas!

I'm feelin' the love...

4:05 PM  
Anonymous j. samuel thomas said...

Do you think those "mental conversations" do any good?

I'm just honestly curious, wondering if they have any real value, or if it's just something we do out of anxiety or fear.

In my experience they just don't seem to have any lasting value.

To prepare ourselves, mentally, for what's going to happen?

I don't know.

A whole 'nuther can of worms, I suppose.

4:25 PM  
Blogger Jerry said...

It's May 9th so this comment is a little late but I just had to say something after reading this blog post today. This is truly amazing. What you've said is exactly what has been occurring to me recently in our own meetings here in Philadelphia. It is a great confirmation that my single-mindedness on issues or whatever needs to be filtered through the rest of the Body of Christ. No man is an island and none of us has everything nailed down. I like a quote from Watchman Nee "Christ ever comes to us in broken fragments...." we never have it all figured out. That way we depend upon Him rather that our own reasoning mind, which are imperfect. We have to always remember that we are a loaf, each grain of wheat is crushed and rolled and baked and together we make up that one loaf. We know the love of Christ together with all the saints.
Thanks Neil

2:33 PM  
Anonymous Lyle Myers said...

This thing of having the whole conversation within before sharing with others is, I think, an effort to be right, but it also means that we have an agenda to prove our correctness, I like what J. samuel said. "Is there any value?" I feel not, This scenario had been a problem to me in my walk, I am now learning not to bolster myself in this way, but to simply say what I think and allow others to do the same. Thus there is no thought to sway (manipulate)the conversation my way.I have three wonderful brothers bearing with me in this.

3:07 PM  

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