Critical Thinking

It is easy to criticize. Authority. Administrators. Flawed systems. There is so much that is broken. Including us. Also ways to improve. Or get stuck.

Even on a balmy February morning. No ice. No snow. No school. Well, not for the kids at Central HS who knew. Whose parents watch local news(!)  When I saw students unloading from city buses at the high school as usual, I was confused. I checked for a notification and saw nothing; it was buried in a 6am email that my filter deemed Other than important. No missed calls about a school closing. 

Communication. We have so many avenues, so many possible forms. And yet we miss each other so often. Sometimes we think we know better. Or would have done better. Perhaps.

The story of King David’s son Absalom’s rebellion is a revolting tale of violence and the power of words. David fled Jerusalem. Absalom wanted him dead. But David still loved him.

The king gave orders to Joab, Abishai, and Ittai: “For my sake, protect my boy Absalom.” All the troops heard what the king ordered regarding Absalom to all the commanders. 2 Samuel 18:5 (CEB)

But Joab often thought he knew better. Sometimes he did. The army commander was good at eliminating the competition. His insight had a long history with the king. He knew what David wanted to hear. He understood the impact of the word, the sword, and the counting of soldiers. 

So when Absalom’s heavy tresses entangled him in a tree, Joab saw to it that he was killed. Ending the battle and the rebellion. Restoring David’s kingship and returning him to Jerusalem. But David wept. 

So the victory that day was turned into mourning for all the troops because they heard that day that the king was grieving for his son. 2 Samuel 19:2(CEB)

We would like to distill the complicated stories into a simple moral. A tale of right and wrong. Mistakes and advice for future decisions. But life and leadership are complicated. For David, the Lord’s anointed. For his loyal commanders. For priests, wise women, and kingdom advisers. For us. 

Today I am reminded. A quote from Francis of Assissi, that humans tend to live themselves into new ways of thinking more than think themselves into new ways of living from Richard Rohr’s reflection. And I consider how we do that.

Sometimes through our labor. Working a week in Mississippi with Habitat. Visiting someone in the hospital. Writing an encouraging note. Supporting 13yo Richard Sabas spending Friday night in a box on the street to raise money for a homeless shelter. Sending flowers. Cooking a meal. Mentoring a child. 

May we live into a new way of thinking. Today. Tomorrow. And the next. 

Bulletin: 2/2
Order of Service: 2/2
Sermon: Maturity in Hebrews 6: Faith, Endurance, Hope 

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