Thinking About Thinking

Today it seems appropriate to continue on the thread of self and hone in on that thing I called “internal dialogue” in my previous post. I would describe this as the stuff that goes on in my own head – the stuff that I think I am.

  • worry dialogue
  • hate dialogue
  • religious dialogue
  • self-esteem dialogue
  • gender specific dialogue

The self I know is made up of the dialogue that continually goes on in my head. The dialogue is under the influence of all kinds of things. This is a fact. From careless comments made to us as we were growing up to religious or nationalistic convictions instilled in us by our denominations or culture. So you see the dialogue we engage in is manipulated by the illusion of who we think we are. You are stupid, you are worthless, Lutheran’s don’t believe that, boys don’t cry. There is an endless amount of stuff that subconsciously moves us in certain directions and not others.

Low level religion has to keep this dialogue alive. That is the reasoning behind biblical directives on child rearing which aim to keep the child in the religion of its Father. This I see as a valuable part of growing up, it is  good to have a healthy sense of self, who we are and where we came from, what is right and wrong in your community. It has been shown that people without healthy boundaries and securities are susceptible to groups that can fill this void – often cults or extremists.

Although there is value in this internal dialogue it has its limits. Perhaps the rebellion of youth is natures way of growing out of ill-fitting garments. At some point an adult needs to be able to question the dialogue that has been recorded and is being played back in a loop. Not all of the sources are reputable and above all, the recording is not you. This is the stuff of nightmares for the orthodox – religion by its very nature must keep the dialogue going. Like the dialogue that goes on while you are in the middle of an argument, when you know you are right and fully justified for your hurt and anger. We feel the need to keep the internal dialogue going. This is a good representation of low-level religion – the religion all of us engage in at first and many remain in. We feel the need to keep people coming to church so we can encourage each other to keep the dialogue going.  Different religious groups work hard to keep different dialogues alive. The Australian Christian Lobby fights hard to maintain the dialogue against Gay people. Muslims maintain the rage against the infidel who is hell bound while Christians maintain the superiority of their religion and await judgement when the infidel/Muslim will face a similar peril. Is it just a coincidence that Orthodoxy is always exactly where “I” have been born? We are taught that this firmness is faith but……..

God is not found in the dialogue. (1Kings19:11)

The dot points I put in the beginning, before I knew where this post was going, seem to be out of place. But I don’t want to remove them. As I look at the list I can’t help noticing that much of Jesus words and actions speak to these dot points. It seems to me that it is pointless trying to rest in the presence of God while the inner dialogue is fully engaged and while we think we know who God is and what is true. I am secretly scared of silence but I am beginning to trust my conviction that silence is where we must all go.

Luke 10:41, 12:22, Luke 14:15-24



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