Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Zeal Without Knowledge

I have been on Facebook for 5+ years now. When I started out, Facebook seemed like a great place to reconnect with old friends, keep tabs on current ones, and spy on your teenagers. I discovered the status update feature and I fell in love. "Ginny Wilson Barker was attacked by a bag of frozen blueberries" and the like became the carefree and fun-filled banter of the day. They added the comment option to the status update and the fun took off, big time. I could connect with others via this level of informal chit chat and not feel so isolated in my work-from-home-if-I-have-work-at-all (this was about the time that the housing bubble burst) lifestyle.

But somewhere, somehow, things have spun out of control. No longer is Facebook a place for mutual encouragement and humorous wordplay. It has become a living, breathing bumper sticker theme park of warring factions and political and cultural agendas and there are days when I cannot stand it any more.

The divisions are huge now. The divide is wide. This doesn't just apply to politics. It applies to just about any and every decision you can make about your life and the lives of those you love. People will go toe to toe, fight tooth and nail, and go so far as to insunuate evil intention or pure old home-grown ignorance or laziness on the part of those who disagree. . . or who just don't care to jump on their particular bandwagon.

It is not good to have zeal without knowledge, nor to be hasty and miss the way. — Proverbs 19:2

Just today someone posted one of those photos on Facebook. It is of the back of a t-shirt with this gracious little ditty: "I take Aspirin for the headache caused by the Zyrtec I take for the hayfever I got from Relenza from the uneasy stomach from the Ritalin I take for the short attention span caused by the Scopederm Ts I take for the motion sickness I got from the Lomotil I take for the diarrhea caused by the Zenikal for the uncontrolled weight gain from the Paxil I take for the anxiety from the Zocor I take for my high cholesterol because exercise, a good diet, and regular chiropractic care are just too much trouble."

I understand the premise: We take too many meds to treat what ails us instead of choosing a healthier lifestyle. That may be true for a certain segment of the population. That may be true with certain conditions. But this very statement is a slap in the face for many people who live very healthy lifestyles and still, STILL need medication for one issue or another. The insinuation that people who take medication are just plain dumb and/or lazy is downright arrogant in its zeal without knowledge.

I have had to learn the hard way that there are very few bandwagons worth jumping on and that most people do what they do and believe what they believe for a reason. I know I have offended others with my hasty posts and I have had to ask forgiveness for airing my opinions rather than speaking the truth in love. 

We live in a world of zeal without knowledge because we are finite and cannot know everything. We cannot even know most things. Tomorrow, the tide may turn. The news may change. The evidence to support our choices may prove faulty. We might find we were wrong. There is so very little trustworthy information out there. Where will we put our trust?

We must hold to our earthly sensibilities humbly and loosely, and cling to what we know.

Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst. — 1 Timothy 1:15

That is good news, indeed. And news worthy of our zeal.

Brainless Wonder

Yep! That's me. A brainless wonder. I don't know how it happened really, I just know it did. It may not be fair but I blame it on my kids. Best I can tell, each time I gave birth it cut my IQ in half. Four kids later and I probably shouldn't qualify for a drivers license.

I wasn't always this way. In years past, like really way past, I was the smart one. My older sisters were pretty and popular but I was just smart. My favorite toy was our set of World Book Encyclopedias, 1965 edition. I would just pick up off the shelf and sit there for hours, poring over maps and charts and lapping up facts to my heart's content.

Of course, I spent my high school years making no use whatsoever of my gray matter, but I did manage to dig it out of the closet in college when I took to memorizing scripture, lots and lots of it. So much so that I was told nobody would ask me out on a date because my Bible knowledge intimidated them. This was not the result I was going for, I can assure you. God, in His goodness, eventually sent me a husband anyway.

But then something happened. I think it started around the time I got pregnant but, to be honest, I can't remember. That is just the problem. I can't remember anything and haven't been able to for well over 20 years. Basic grammar? Gone!  Four years of college? Gone! Those Bible verses? Gone!

I know the real reason has something to do with oxytocin (AKA the "dumb" hormone). From what I was told, some women eventually get their brains back after the childbearing years are over and, well, some don't. I just assumed that my brain cells were sucked out during year after year after year of breastfeeding and that those missing brain cells are safely parked inside my offspring who, for their teenage years, assumed I was an idiot.

No, I never did get my brain back. Things have only gotten worse. I have gone so far as to look up signs of early onset Alzheimer's. I read recently that the only symptom of menopause to be documented across every culture and ethnic group is memory problems. The only menopausal symptom that cannot be remedied by hormone replacement therapy? Yep, memory problems. I think it is hopeless.

But at least I'm not alone. My husband is getting there, too. One day we came out of Wal-Mart and couldn't find our car. Every single car in the lot was either silver or gold or white. We stumbled around aimlessly for what seemed like hours, like a couple of old codgers freshly escaped from the dementia unit. WE ARE NOT EVEN FIFTY!

Oh, well. I guess part of growing up and growing old is making do with what you got....or don't got, in my case. I read the Bible. I really do. I just can't tell you a couple hours later what I just read anymore.

Whenever I begin to despair, one of the few verses I still remember is what the Psalmist says in Psalm 119:11, "I have hidden your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you." I am thankful that I can still hide God's word in my heart, because I certainly don't have a brain.