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Chew only or Swallow and digest?

...Christ never meant that we were to remain children in intelligence: on the contrary, He told us to be not only “as harmless as doves,” but also “as wise as serpents.” He wants a child’s heart, but a grown-up’s head. He wants us to be simple, single-minded, affectionate, and teachable, as good children are; but He also wants every bit of intelligence we have to be alert at its job, and in first-class fighting trim.

...Be good, sweet maid, and don’t forget that this involves being as clever as you can.” ...If you are thinking of becoming a Christian, I warn you you are embarking on something which is going to take the whole of you, brains and all.
~ C. S. Lewis
Book III, Chapter 2

I’m a scanner. I admit it. When it comes to reading anything outside of books, I’m a highlights’ reader. Like chewing on a bad piece of hard bubblegum, I can feed on a multi-paragraph on-line article in about 5 seconds, just enough time to squeeze out the sugary flavor, then spit it back out. Only if there’s something particularly relevant or entertaining or sequential do I take the time to swallow and digest. Otherwise, I’m zoning in on key words and moving on, baby.

Perhaps my reading style is imitative of the modern American Christian. We’re spread so thin in this ministry and that; we juggle so many relationships that we give proper time to none; we multi-task while listening to the Sunday sermon as we’re jotting down plans for the Bible study that night and transcribing a passage to memorize later in the week. Granted, all good things, each one, but whatever happened to attending to the “one best thing” that Jesus chastised Martha about?

We’re one Google-click away from discovering a little bit about everything. But do we have more than a Wikipedia-sized knowledge about anything? The Christian religion isn’t designed for the wimpy or the lazy. It’s requires depth and devotion. Any leader that says he wants your whole being, not just your 8-5 workday best, but your whole heart, mind, soul, spirit, is insinuating there’s some serious business ahead, and you better live prepared for it.

How can we motivate ourselves to sit down at the dinner table feast instead of settling for sampling tidbits at the mall’s food court when the latter is so handy and the former can seem so time-consuming?

Perhaps by slowing down enough to concentrate on only one thing at a time. Turn off the TV and give our undivided attention to the husband at dinner. Discard the frivolous catalogs so we can focus on the one serious magazine article. Build enough margin into our lives so that when the unexpected TRUE need calls us, we’re fresh and available to throw in our all.

Jesus never expected his disciples to pursue a PhD in theology, but he did say they needed to deny everything but him. That’s some serious focus. Do we have enough attention span and self-discipline left to do it?

[Others' thoughts from Book III of “Mere Christianity”]


Brenda said...

I'm sorry. I want to respond to this post, but I don't really know what it said. :-) Ha ha.

Lisa notes... said...

Well, next time try reading it with a spoon full of sugar... :-)


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