Thursday, August 11, 2011

What's Your Mindset?

I was thinking about our country's financial mess.  And the congress couldn't come to a mutually agreeable solution.  It struck me that I'd written about that very thing in discussing the problems with Christians having doctrinal differences.  Those posts are Why Would You Say That? Part 1 and Why Would You Say That? Part 2.  In brief,  it begins with everyone's thought process starts with an original premise.  That premise directs the train of thought, leaving one possible outcome, which makes the conclusion predictable.  There's a twofold problem in communication because of that.  



First, both sides could be discussing an issue, using the same terms and not really connecting with each other.  Since each started with different premises, even the definitions of the terms may vary because of how they're colored by the foundational premise.  So, the two sides may think they're communicating with each other, but what each hears is distorted by their own definitions.

The second issue is one of mindset.  As I mentioned above, the premise leads to a foregone conclusion.  But each party has their own starting point and their own ending thought.  In this country, it's said we have certain inalienable rights.  But the liberals and conservatives see each other's thinking as just plain alien, instead of inalienable.

Those two things make me think that the committee of 12 will have the same difficulties as the whole congress already had in coming to agreement.  They'll certainly need our prayers.  And very likely some outside unbiased influencing.

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That whole premise to conclusion thing made me think about how much it influences the direction of our lives   Take me, for example.  I was born with a condition that required a series of surgeries or I'd be in a wheelchair for life.  All went well, but I was always considered "different" by those I went to school with.  A decent personality prevented me from getting too much mocking, but I didn't end up playing too much baseball with the guys.  And when we were hanging out, I was on the fringe.  That may sound sad to some, but it had its benefits.

One of the benefits of being "on the outside" is that you're less likely to be held to having to think like everyone else.  So, after seeing my family and others being religious, I was quite comfortable straying from Christianity into Zen.  And later, back to Christianity.  But this time, because of a real relationship with my Savior.  To the point of actually drawing my father into that same kind of relationship instead of just religious ritual.

That same kind of different premise also had a strong effect on the music I like.  Around the age of 13 I was sure that jazz was cool.  I'd never knowingly listened to it, but I was positive I'd like it.  So, with my allowance in my pocket, I went to the record store to get a couple of jazz albums.  I ended up getting a Count Basie album and "The Thelonious Monk Quartet Plus Two, Live at the Blackhawk".  Nobody told me that a novice jazz listener or a 13 year old kid wasn't supposed to automatically get into Monk.  And I'm glad they didn't.  The moment I put that album on, I knew I'd found a musical home.  And I've been exploring different genres of music ever since.

To this day, I'm more likely to have jazz, classical or something musically unique in the background when I'm trying to be creative or have a spiritual time.  Just because I don't want someone else's spirituality influencing my immediate relationship with God or influencing my creative flow.

Hopefully, my unique premises, thought patterns and conclusions will make here and Bill's Spiritual Musings different and interesting enough to keep you coming back.  And, hopefully, we'll learn some new things together.

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