Sunday, February 24, 2008


It's been a quiet day around here and I have spent a lot of time just thinking. Whether I was in my truck transporting my two younger daughters and their friends or sitting at this computer, or talking to my accountant, these thoughts of living free of the fear based conformity that our society uses to maintain some sense of order has been front and center in my mind today. It's such a strong force that shapes us to think and respond in certain ways and mostly we are unaware of it. And as Walter Brueggemann says, alternative thinking becomes a difficult task, but to even begin to imagine things differently one must be aware that they are stuck and are being influenced by many things that control them.

As I have said before, Jacques Ellul has been a wonderful help to me in learning to think differently...outside of how I had been shaped to process things. Believe it or not, Ellul might sound complicated but in actuality he has helped simplify things for me. It's funny how complicated and confused we have become, that when we hear something that is actually simple it sounds complicated. This is where allowing ourselves to begin to learn to think differently becomes so important.

Another friend, Paul Young, the author of The Shack, has also been such a big help to me as he walked with me through many practical things pertaining to this life that is to be lived in this world. I mention Paul because during this time today of thinking about learning to live in freedom (found in the Father, Son, and Spirit) that transcends all man's best efforts to make sense of it all, I kept thinking about something Paul wrote on his blog several months ago that I wanted to share here again. It's been here before on my blog and it comes to mind often as I walk through my days with the people around me. The way society goes and functions is antithetical to living in a way that honors and prefers the "other". I'm not shocked anymore by the hurtful destructive things I see or hear of in regards to what someone has done to another human being. This is what our societal machine perpetuates. I am interested in the renewing of my mind to something wholly other. To learn to be governed by something other than the fear based forced conformity of this world and it's many systems.


Zion said...

Wonderful post Kent.

What does fear produce exactly? Experience could suggest that it makes people irrational, suppressed, depressed, ill, anxious, easily manipulated and in some cases angry and violent.

I like where you have written... "Jacques Ellul has been a wonderful help to me in learning to think differently"...

A famous quote from the New Testament is "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand"

The word repent (and you probably already know this one) comes from the Greek word "metanoeo" which means, literally, "to change one's mind or purpose.", or to "think differently"

"Repent" feels to me like an aggressive expression/translation.

"Think differently, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand" would of been more inspirational


Kent said...

Hello Zion. I think you bring up such an important point about what repentance means? You want to talk about something that needs a new alternative thinking approach in our present age?

Repentance, like many other things in the religious lexicon has been reduced to something that rarely changes anything for real. And what it has been reduced to is just a tool used to make people feel bad enough so they then are easier to control.

Zion said...

So true Kent.. I've not had to deal with 'repentance' for awhile now. But I can remember the very word raising fear in me, despite the fact I had no clue back then what it actually meant. I had just assumed it was to mean 'be good or else'.

I'm not that savvy with any modern translations of the bible.. so maybe there is some changes on how this is expressed today. (doubt it though)

I find myself today envisioning this harmony that Paul Young (who you provide a link to) speaks of.

Kent said...

Zion, there is an exchange in The Shack that to me became such an important part of learning, in a sense, to step away from myself and to take a critical look, as best as I could, at the whole of my life...thoughts and in turn action...the way I lived in this world.

Mack has just had an encounter with a character named Sophia who turned out to be the personification of God's wisdom.

Mack says to Jesus that he doubts if anything is normal with Sophia. And Jesus responds by saying: "with her, everything is normal and elegantly simple. Because you are so utterly lost and independent you bring to her many complications, and as a result you find even her simplicity profound."

Mack then responds by saying that his world(thinking and actions) must be upside down if she is simple and he is the complex one.

In our twisted way of thinking harmony has been made into something that sounds "new agey" and exchanged for the idea if everyone would submit to forced conformity, achieved through the exercise of fear it would bring about freedom.

It's actually backwards. This is why justice is so often seen as "punishment for wrong doing" instead of what the original word that we get our word justice from really means. Honorable relations. It really is about harmony brought about through grace and mercy, not conformity achieved through law.

One keeps us trapped in the mess. One allows us to find freedom, real freedom while still surrounded by the mess, yet actually opens up the possibility of breaking the cycle humanity is stuck in.

Sue said...

"Think differently, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand" would of been more inspirational


Goodness, yes! That feels so expansive and open, doesn't it? It also points to a lifelong way of being, rather than a one-off intellectual "decision for Christ"

Decisions for Christ must bore him, really ;) Yeah, yeah, get it over with so we can get onto the real business of casting out your fear :)