EXPAND YOUR THINKING
I really want to encourage all people – not just Christians, but everyone – to be thinking people who explore for themselves, thinking people who find out for themselves, thinking people who enquire for themselves. Second hand assumption certainly causes us to form opinions, but it does not create valuable experience from which we can learn.
We were born to be explorers – we were never meant to be mere assumers. Children demonstrate that fact very well. They continually ask questions and express their inbuilt curiosity. As human beings, we were created to seek, to hope, to learn, and to know. That means that we need to be people who are thinking not just with our heads, but with our hearts. Indeed, it really means people who are thinking with our whole being, and not just a small part of our lives.
It means us being people who are thinkers that care about the people with whom we interact; wherever and whenever that may be. It means us not allowing tradition or prejudice to control our words or deeds, but rather to be people who carefully consider what we say and what we do so that no unnecessary offence is given to anyone. Every human being is worthy of our greatest respect and our best manners. My dignity is to give you dignity.
So, I want people to be active explorers, not passive assumers. (Is ‘assumers’ a real word?) I want them to be people who check things out for themselves – and not people who just maintain an assumed position from received prejudice or imposed tradition. I want people to be explorers who seek to know through their own experience and effort, and who are open to receiving and learning more of life from other people. I want us to be people who work to believe, who work to know and who work to understand.
True thinking is not merely a mental process; it involves the whole of our being. It is driven by the experience that grows the heart, that feeds and informs the mind, that refreshes the spirit, and that enriches the soul. Let us be a people of great depth and solid integrity who make a valuable contribution to the lives of the people with whom we have contact, irrespective of the context of that contact. Every person that we meet deserves our respect.
I want this Christ-Centered Life website to be a resource that teaches and encourages thinking and reflection. To that end, this “Thought” section of the website will encourage, teach and promote whole life thinking as a worthwhile exercise for everyone. It provides material for thinking and discussion, and it will probably ask more questions than it answers.
It will do so in many ways over time as this section grows with many entries and many different types of entry. The purpose of every item here is to encourage people to think for themselves and to explore for themselves. Of course we can – and we should and we must – learn from the work that others have done, but let’s do the work to establish our own thinking through our own research, rather than just accepting what another source gives to us.
Many and varied sources can certainly give us a balanced view that we can use to arrive at a place of acceptance and belief for ourselves that has been achieved through our own time and effort. Many and varied subjects covered can help us to broaden our views and reconsider how and what we believe – and especially why we believe. Let explorers explore! Let people be free to explore!
PAPERS FOR THOUGHT AND DISCUSSION
In response to a number of discussions in which the possibilities of a helpful and extensive exploration were limited by time and occasion, I am making available on this ‘Thought’ section of the Christ-Centered Life website some papers that I had previously written, as well as other material.
A number of the papers are adapted from my time at the Scottish Baptist College (1999-2003) where they were part of my studies there in preparation for ministry. Some papers also relate to some subjects that have been brought up by people who wanted to explore topics but did not really have the opportunity to do so at the time. Other papers are of general interest and provide an introduction to subjects.
All the papers here are presented as discussion documents that first of all set out some kind of foundation for that discussion, and may then provide material to help a deeper exploration. To that end, they will often have a bibliography as part of them, and this will help the interested person to explore a topic that they may may not have yet explored, or to dig further into a subject that is important to them.
The papers featured here were written by me unless clearly stated otherwise in their titles. Since many of the papers that wrote were originally written many years ago, they are not necessarily indicative of the way I see things today! As explorers we grow in our understanding through continued exploration and reflection.
I will be glad to hear your reactions and responses to this section and for you to let me know if the material here is helpful and encouraging for you – or not. As always, you can email me from the link on every page, or from the ‘Contact’ page.