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An Open Heart is an Open Mind

I shared the following quote recently with my small group working through the Spiritual Formation training material;

The form of learning which most changes people in lasting ways has to touch them at a broader and deeper level than the thinking mind. The quote from the Dalai Lama is expanded upon: “An open heart is an open mind. A change of heart is a change of mind.” Now, before you think the pastor's gone off the deep end, we must remember that truth is truth, wherever we find it. God can speak through all sorts of people, even donkeys! But of course, our plumb line is Jesus against whom all truth must be measured.

It reminds me of the Apostle Paul in his struggles with the Church community at Corinth who are questioning his teaching and his authority as an Apostle. His response in these verses at least, mirror exactly what Jesus had done in coming to die for us while we were yet sinners, closed off to truth expressed in profound lovingkindness; "We have spoken freely to you, Corinthians, and opened wide our hearts to you. We are not withholding our affection from you, but you are withholding yours from us. As a fair exchange—I speak as to my children—open wide your hearts also." (2 Cor. 6:11-13)

Richard Rohr says, 'this is the urgently needed work of mature spirituality. Many folks over the years, even very good-willed people, have read and listened to presentations of the gospel, yet have actually done very little in terms of lifestyle changes, economic or political rearrangements, or church reform. Gospel "truth" has remained in the realm of “good ideas.” We begin to think church is all about attending services and believing ideas to be true or false? For most of us, if we’re honest, our lives rarely make space for any new practices or changed patterns or habits to emerge. In contrast, transformative education does not ask us to believe or disbelieve any doctrines or dogmas. It says, “Try this!” Then we will know something to be true or false for ourselves.'

Paul was only transformed in his thinking when he was knocked off his (high) horse and experienced the love of Christ poured into his heart as he encountered a Person and received the gift of the Holy Spirit. Then he had to go off into Arabia to get his thinking straightened out!

How might your mind/thinking be restricting your ability to open your heart and how might the Holy Spirit want to lead you to try something new, initiate, offer an olive branch to someone, or risk vulnerably and courageously sharing your struggle without fear or shame? Such an experience can lead towards the rewiring of our brain and sometimes unexpected blessings that brings.

With love and prayers,

Pastor Mike

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