I found this video from Sentis describing conscious vs. subconscious thinking. One of its key points is that conscious thinking takes way more time and energy than subconscious thinking. Much fewer resources are used when we don’t have to think about our actions, make decisions, or solve problems.
This brain laziness serves the same function as our cravings for fat and sugar and our aversion to physical exercise. Our bodies (including our brains) are trained by evolution to use as little energy as possible, because that allows us to survive during lean times.
The problem is, living on autopilot is just about as healthy for us as eating junk food while sitting in front of the TV all day. We need to exercise our brains if we don’t want the mental equivalent of a beer gut.
This means challenging ourselves to be creative, flexible, and always keep learning. It also suggests that we actively keep our minds open to new ways of thinking and even listen for truth from those with whom we tend to disagree.
This week we watch as the drama in Ukraine continues to unfold. Russian troops have occupied eastern territories of this sovereign nation, and many (especially Republican) leaders in the U.S. are calling for a buildup of Western allied military forces near Ukraine. It is a recipe with all the ingredients of a civil war backed on one side by the U.S. and the other by Russia.
It’s fine with me if my ten-year-old daughter wants to try out the ridiculous clothes from the 1980s, but I would rather not return to that decade’s foreign policy disasters. The twenty-first century has enough issues of its own without reviving that nonsense, thank you very much.
Yet in today’s paper I read an article describing Obama’s dwindling popularity as he searches for a nonviolent diplomatic response to Russia’s aggressive move into Crimea. For this hesitancy to move immediately to military posturing, our President is called “weak” or “ineffective”.
To the contrary, I believe that Barack Obama has in fact demonstrated his greatest moments of weakness when he does take military action or celebrates the death of our “enemies”.
I'd like to do things like change my profile picture, but I can't figure out where to do that. Also, when I try to add a background image, it doesn't automatically resize. I'm very interested in the audience/community-building potential of this platform, but so far things seem fairly buggy to me.
Last week I talked with students at the University of Iowa Wesley Foundation about the Historical Jesus field of study. I presented the series of statements to see what kind of reactions I might get. Then we talked about the question of what we couldpositively assert about Jesus even if one did agree with these negative statements. It was a rich discussion, and I’m curious to see what others’ thoughts are.
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Jesus, or Yeshua, if we use his real name, was probably not born in Bethlehem. There was no immaculate conception. His father was Joseph, and Mary got pregnant in the normal way. There was no star over the manger, probably wasn’t even a manger in the first place. There were no wise men visiting from the east or angels singing to shepherds.
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We Are Wild and So Is God
Below is a link to a sermon I preached at the University of Iowa Wesley Foundation. In it I introduce students to author Wendell Berry and speak of the cultural shift in America away from wildness toward a more sheltered existence. To listen to (or read) the sermon, visit my blog