Mk 7:31-37 Be Open!
People brought to [Jesus] a deaf man who had a speech impediment and begged him to lay his hand on him. He took him off by himself away from the crowd…He looked up to heaven and groaned, “Be open!” -- And immediately the man’s ears were opened.
The problem with the world today is that there are too many narrow-minded people!
I know what you are thinking…Now that’s an interesting statement, especially coming from a priest who writes an opinion on just about everything! But I am not afraid to say it and, more importantly, defend it. In fact, I will even say that I consider myself a very open-minded individual and for the best of reasons.
I have no problem conversing with “tolerant” people; even though they are the least tolerant of all the people I know. I have no problem being in the presence of scientists, even though I am a priest. And I have no problem making friends with the dead, even though I live well into the present.
I mention these three companions because there is much narrow-mindedness (or single-mindedness) when it comes to those who oppose science as art, dogma as honesty and our past as reoccurring. Or, for the sake of clarity, let me say the following: Far too many narrow-minded individuals can be found among scientists, relativists and progressivists.
Scientists. Now, there were many times in my life when I was “narrow-minded”. For example, when I was an engineer I used to be very narrow-minded; that is, I would only read and breathe scientific journals. But then one day, in fact, while I was studying the planets, I had an epiphany that has lasted to this day. For the very first time in my life I realized that everything I was reading and studying was a human attempt at understanding all that already existed, and that we had no part in creating. What I was reading and studying was more like an art critic’s review of someone’s art, but the Artist was never mentioned.
Now it’s easier to be a critic than it is to be an artist. At least, that’s how it used to be.
It gradually dawned on me that most everything we do is a cheap imitation of everything He did. Take, for example, the incredible descent of the Mars Rover, Curiosity. Wasn’t it spectacular? I stayed up all night watching it. But the next morning I saw something even more amazing: a single leaf gracefully falling to the ground. Actually, it was zigzagging towards the ground. What Curiosity will do on the surface of Mars does not even begin to compare with what that leaf will do on the surface of the earth.
Or let’s analyze for a brief moment a simple apple falling to the ground. Not only will that apple land on the ground, but it will roll next to its “mother”, whose shade will ensure its chances of survival. And like a placenta, the fruit surrounding the seed will fertilize the ground in which it lies. Now, to think all this as less remarkable than a Rover Landing on Mars is to think narrow-mindedly. But as a priest and engineer, I have learned to appreciate both. That’s not narrow-mindedness. That’s open-mindedness!
Relativists. So many people pride themselves in being Darwinists. But in all honesty, they have never read a single page of Charles Darwin or Ernst Haeckel. The same goes for atheists. Most have never read an entire book by Friedrich Nietzsche or Jean Paul Sartre. Instead, most have pleased themselves with newspaper headlines and comical acts produced and directed by Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens.
These professors, and their adherents, are not the product of the Dark Ages. Ironically, these morbid writers consider themselves the grandchildren of the Enlightenment. What they really are, are the grandfathers of the Establishment. Recently, it was revealed that a vast majority of college professors will reject tenure to a colleague if they are deemed to be too conservative. Most academics, like most colleges today, consider themselves open-minded. But in reality, they have never been anything but very closed-minded.
Let’s cut to the chase. The real difference between open-minded and narrow-minded individuals should be obvious by now. It’s the difference between intellectual honesty and ideology. Relativists tend to study little and speak wildly. Dogmatists tend to study a great deal and speak reservedly. In essence, narrow-minded individuals tend to study little and only pretend to accept everything; whereas open-minded individuals tend to study greatly and only cautiously accept anything.
Progressivists. There exists in today’s culture a very narrow-mindedness with regards to the past. It begins with a great deal of angst with the possibility of history repeating itself. It should not, declare the progressivists, for there is nothing good to learn from our ancestors or our past. But when we consider what’s new in today’s subculture, we begin to see that it is actually quite old from long ago days. For example: The three-generational home. The only sector of housing construction that appears to be booming is the three-generational home. Wow! How exciting! How avant garde! But is this something new? Not really. In fact, it is something very old. And millions of Americans are returning to it in order to save their lives, their families and their livelihood. But you would never know it by the limited news it is receiving. After all, it is a dramatic push back to modernity’s push towards the “New Normal” family. Only a courageous few dare to mention this modest return to the wisdom of our ancestors. How narrow-minded! And once again, the reason for this negligence is not ignorance but rather ideology. Out with the old, in with the new is an important ideological tweet in our free-market economy and culture. But it isn’t a reliable fact in a flesh and bone humanity or a safe bet in a free-falling economy. To think what is new is always better is not narrow-mindedness, but plain and simple foolishness.
What is new isn’t always better. But being better will always be something new!
This is something worth repeating to our kids, from one generation to another. Was the Occupy Wall Street movement something new and exciting? Or was it a failed attempt to repeat the performance of July 14th, 1789 (Bastille Day)? Is the European Union something new? Or is it a union as old as the Holy Roman Empire? You tell me.
I consider myself very open-minded every time I connect the past with the present, and predict the future based on the past and present.
Conclusion: Here are just a few of the areas of life in which I find people to be very narrow-minded. There are many more. But unlike space, a blogspot is very limited. In conclusion, a narrow-minded individual tends to see the past as a thing of the past; religion as something that should be swept under the carpet; and creation as an accident rather than a God-given model.
Let’s be what the Lord said this day to be: “Be Open!”
The Lord had a tremendous ability to interact with just about anyone. But he didn’t live like everyone.
Authentically open-minded people tend to become authentically narrow-minded people. They are open-minded to learning, and narrow-minded in accepting only the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.