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The Trouble With Having An Open Mind

My wife, Donna, recently brought my attention to this thought-provoking statement about our world: "We live in the era of smart phones and stupid people." Apologies to parents teaching their children to never use the word "stupid." But it is difficult to disagree, is it not? We have reached breath-taking heights in technology, electronics, medicine, and communication. But meanwhile, we continue to slog through the swamps at an ethical and moral level. The phones indeed at times seem smarter than the people who use them. We left our footprints on the moon and are now aiming at Mars. But there seem to be fewer fingerprints on our Bibles these days, and not just because we have them in our Nooks and Kindles and e-tablets. Now in America we are no longer certain what is right and what is wrong. Perhaps even worse than the rampant immorality that pervades our culture is the amorality — the lack of any moral sense at all. Millions are now absolutely certain you cannot be absolutely certain anything is right or wrong. Broad-mindedness is the rave of the day. "Open-mindedness" and "tolerance" have all but been deified in our increasingly secular society. We are pressured to accept that every way is equally valid, whether talking about sexual orientation or how to get to God and Heaven. Actress Penelope Cruz once summed up the lackadaisical, buffet-style approach many have toward morals and religion these days in open-minded America. She said, " . . . the philosophy I most identify with is Buddhism because it's the one that doesn't say, 'This is the only way.' I don't want to put a title on what I believe." There you are—according to Cruz and many others, the problem is not broad-minded people ready to swallow every kooky, kinky, crazy idea and behavior that comes along. The trouble is caused by close-minded people with the gall to suggest not only that some ways are better than others, but also that some thinking and things are absolutely right and some thinking and things are absolutely wrong. And that we can, with God's word as a guide, discern the difference.

A quick read of Revelation 2:18-29 in your Bible will remind you that fuzzy thinking is not a new thing, and that it even sometimes worms it way into churches. Jesus commended the church at ancient Thyatira for their love, service, faith, and patience (or perseverance) — some really good qualities for any church to have. But then the Lord said these words: "Nevertheless I have a few things against you, because you allow that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess, to teach and seduce My servants to commit sexual immorality and eat things sacrificed to idols." The problem at Thyatira was not that people didn't think highly of Jesus — they did. But they also thought highly of a woman named "Jezebel" (whose evil influence resembled her Old Testament namesake). The problem at Thyatira was that some thought they could have Jesus — and Jezebel, too! Read the text for yourself. An open mind can reach only one conclusion: Jesus is not as open-minded as some members of His church at Thyatira! Terry Prachett warns, "The trouble with having an open mind, of course, is that some people will insist of coming along and trying to put things in it." Whose things are you putting in your mind — Jesus' or Jezebel's?

Dan Gulley
Smithville church of Christ