Recently I journeyed with a 100-year-old woman as she neared death. When she died the family shared memories and reflections on her storied life. I find it fascinating how people focus in and remember the small things over the big. One of the grandchildren, of whom she was particularly fond, recalled going over to her grandma’s small apartment for movie night to eat popcorn made with REAL BUTTER. The grandmother did not have much materially speaking. She lived alone and worked as a waitress. However, when her grandkids came over she used REAL BUTTER! The children were accustomed to
God created us to be a complex mix of biology and experience. We are embodied souls who have minds that inevitably draw us into relationships. Gregory Boyd calls this complex interface a matrix (Escaping the Matrix). He explains what he means by saying, biologically, we are given billions of neurons that connect via trillions of neuro synapsis. We are also given the manner by which the brain is constructed to function (e.g. neurons firing together wire together). God created us this way and it is “very good” (and incredibly complex!). Now what gets registered in our God-given neuro
“What do you want me to do for you?” This was Jesus’ question to the blind man. Why ask that question. Isn’t it obvious what the man would want? It is. But Jesus asks about his desire because he knows it is critical for us to own and name and take responsibility for our desires. We must pay attention to our desires because they tell us something VERY important in the Christian life. Desire, more than our cognition, volition, or conscience, define what we believe is true, good, and beautiful. Last week a community of devoted souls met for
A couple months ago I wrote a post about the importance our bodies in spiritual formation. I’m coming back to the same topic because I just can’t get it out of my mind (and my body!). What Your Body Knows about God (Rob Moll ...If you are interested in more on the body and its impact on formation I strongly encourage you to read it) is also at work in my reflections on the body. As I have read it (and pay attention to my own experience) I am more and more convinced that our bodies REALLY influence the
Recently CrossPoint hosted Cohort #4 of our Soul Care Institute. About 25 soul care persons (pastors, small group leaders, counselors, coaches, etc.) are committed to meeting eight times over the course of two years to discuss matters that are crucial to Christian soul care. Over the course of the two and a half days we have some wonderful discussions and clarifications. The topic for this cohort is “The Embodied Soul.” We explored the nature and role of the body in the process of sanctification. While we know we are to keep our bodies from sin we often do not
How we interpret our memories gives us a self-identity. The way we ‘edit’ the events and emotions of our past has a great impact on how we understand ourselves in the present. And our self-understanding impacts the way we engage in all our relationships. Some memories are so powerful and or pervasive that they are critical in determining who we are.
God created our brain in such a way that it captures images. Our memory gives us access to images from the past. Every image we remember is marinated in feelings. So if I (Rich) ask you to tell me about your favorite vacation you will give me an explanation of your images. The explanation of your images is your interpretation of the re-presentation of what you lived on vacation. The interpretation is guided by the feelings affixed to the memory of your vacation. Now this interpretation reality is very, very important.
In addition to memories, there is another element that is an essential building block in the world of our imagination. The brain is designed to re-present reality through images and every image that we remember has feelings associated with it. We cannot stop that from happening. We are designed to re-present reality through images. And the image is influenced or shaded by feelings.
Our memory and imagination are intimately related. Memories that shape our souls are not abstract, they are concrete images. Memories are mental images that re-present to our minds what has occurred in the past. If I (Rich) ask you to tell me about your favorite childhood vacation, or your worst childhood day in school you are not going to give me an abstract explanation. You will tell me a story, and you are telling me a story from the retrieved mental images in your brain that re-present in image form what you lived.