November 4, 2019
I’m an inveterate reader. Always have been. My mom taught me phonics when I was four years old so I was already reading
“Dick and Jane” before grade one. I can’t get enough of good books. Usually I read four or five books at a time. Keeps my mind in gear.
One of those is a re-read: “The Mind on Fire”, an anthology of the writings of the profound French writer Blaise Pascal. In the introduction, Os Guinness writes,
“ Health has replaced both heaven and ethics. Athleticism is the new form of asceticism. Positive thinking is prized above reflection and meditation. Human experience with all its rich, tragic, and ironic complexities is scaled down to the glow of physical well-being. And self-knowledge and self-mastery are promised us through dieting and exercise…In short a sickness of our age is that we have fit bodies but flaccid minds and vacant souls.”
Guinness is an astute observer. Even though he wrote this before the social invasion of the internet and smart phone he was onto something. We humans have a tendency to flock, following the trends of our society uncritically.
Maybe this is why Jesus referred to us as “sheep”.
Pascal was a thinker. He appeals to me (and you?) because he kept his brain in gear. This doesn’t mean his deep faith in Christ was merely rational, but it does mean that his faith was informed by engaging his mind with the scriptures. I try to do the same. This is why the Bible is my most re-read book.