Sunday, February 21, 2010

Think It, Think It! Part II

In case anyone should misunderstand my post, “Think It, Think It!", I wish to clarify that I am not against thinking. Anyone who has followed this blog for long knows that in fact, I regularly rail against the oft-heard admonitions from certain heterodox quarters to “Stop trying to sort it out rationally and just adore the mystery!” First of all, only the Holy Trinity is to be adored, but no doubt this is what they mean, so never mind. The thing I want to point out here is, this is exactly when we need to keep on thinking, lest we mistake sheer nonsense for genuine Mystery. (How to tell the difference is discussed in this post and in the 48 comments that follow it.)

I think it is just as dangerous to stop thinking as it is to reduce spiritual things to mere concepts (and/or emotions). And in fact, the latter mistake is what usually causes the confusion that results in the former.

This has made it all the more delightful for me to discover a new (to me) blog, The Well Thought-Out Life, by Kacie, a young Evangelical. The subtitle of the blog is a quote from Galileo: “I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God who has endowed us with sense, reason, and intellect has intended us to forego their use.” I love it!

If you check out Kacie’s profile, you’ll discover she grew up the daughter of missionaries “on the islands of Indonesia and the mountains of Papua” and you’ll find a link to her other blog, Papua Girl in Dallas. It’s also an interesting blog, more newsy and personal, while the first one is more her place for wrestling with theological matters. I’ve enjoyed both blogs enough to recommend them to you.

And while you’re at it, another new blog I like is Thesauros. It’s anonymously written but as of this writing already has 13 thoughtful and edifying posts. No idea what tack it may take in the future, but so far, so excellent!


DebD said...

yes, but sometimes don't we get to the point of over thinking? How do we find the middle ground?

Anastasia Theodoridis said...

Deb, you have an important point.

Thinking is meant as a tool for understanding experience. Thinking operates upon the data of experience, whether that experiential data is sensory or spiritual (noetic, existential).

We "over think" when our experience devolves into nothing but thinking (and/or emoting). We overthink when thinking and/or feeling become our experience. For example, for us Orthodox Christians, the Holy Spirit leads us to experience the same, ancient Truth (Christ) firsthand, personally, and afterwards to recognize it in certain texts, such as Scripture. We are over-thinking when we seek to derive Christian truth from cogitating over any written text. The text bears witness to somebody else's experience, which is how he knew Truth, if he did. It confirms the Truth we know in the Holy Spirit, but it is not for us the source of that Truth.

Hope this helps. If not, say so because I might make a whole post out of this point you've brought up, it's so important.

DebD said...

thanks Anastasia. I hope you do make it into a separate blog post. I'd love to see some discussion.

Kacie said...

Wow, what an honor it was to come back from a busy weekend away and find that you have linked to me! Many thanks.

You are right, I do think this is important, and I have thought about posting on this as well. My husband has strongly reacted against the Orthodox that he has met who have simply refused to discuss some theological points because of "mystery". I do believe they have a point that Protestants can learn from, but where IS the line between thinking and reason and mystery?

Not that this is an Orthodox problem - I have met far more Protestants that are afraid to think than I have Orthodox.

I think when thinking becomes dangerous is when we think without having our minds submitted to Christ and the guidance of the Holy Spirit. When we seek truth IN the Lord, we will find it, as He is the one who created our minds and reason and logic. When we seek in truth, it leads to Him in the end. However, I believe as soon as we begin to rely on our minds and reason as being authoritative in and of themselves, then we are bound to be misguided.