They Think Too Much

Throughout my life, I’m positive that many people have looked at me and said, “He thinks too much.”

Maybe true. Or, maybe I just spent the first third of my life withdrawn.

When I was first introduced to fundamentalist churches (now called evangelical, I guess), I expected a cult-like atmosphere filled with superstition. Same with off-shoots like Jehovah’s Witnesses or (once popular in my area) The Way International.

What I discovered was–they think too much.

Recently I was attempting to explain a few of the many theories drawn from The Revelation of John from the New Testament. And I stopped and said, “They all just thought too much. Each grabbed a few verses and then they thought out entire scenarios based on that. In fact, often they all go back and subtly modify translations from the Greek in order to make everything fit together in a nice, neat, rational explanation.”

The story part of the classic Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance ends with the hero in shock therapy. What happens when you think too much, suggests the author, is insanity.

Rationality devolves into rules and following rules.

I’m reading an ancient Christian church father who noted, “The spirit of discretion enables us to do the right thing at the right moment; it teaches us how to be zealous for divine justice and to offer pardon at one and the same time.” (St. Bernard)

Fifty years of contemplative life have mellowed rigorous rationality. Understanding of both justice and pardon–guilt and grace–supersedes rule following.

Stop thinking so much and get with the flow of God’s spirit.

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