>I have been asked to follow yesterday’s entry with one that discusses a scripture where you can see these steps of Critically Thinking worked out. I had plans on discussing parallels of this in Luke 15:11-31 on Monday night during our 7Confessions series but the heat was broke. So we tried to keep the gathering short(…we tried. The word seems to draw folks close even when it is cold.)
While the principles were derived from research in more of a secular perspective, I think it is interesting that even in the parable you see some form of critical thinking on the part of the son. Consider this:
1. Get a good grasp of the information available. “What do you see?”
It is implied but you get the sense that when he came to his senses (or the KJV which I actually like “when He came to Himself”) he got a good sense of the information available. His worldview which was probably supposed to be Jewish found him now distinctly somewhere else…postmodern in a sense. What was absolute truth had become relative to him because he had wandered off to a distant land. Truth had died when he asked for the inheritance.
2. Compare the information looking for similarities and differences.
I think we see this in his analysis of the situation. Luke 15:17: “How many of my father’s hired servants have food to spare, and here I am starving to death!” I used to be…but now I find myself here. I had an inheritance but now it is gone. Circumstances we are placed in (or when put ourselves in circumstances) should lead us to comparisons.
3. Congregate the themes.
I am glad that this is more implied because this is a key step but not to be taken so dogmatic that you are looking for a “THEME” billboard in your life instead of living thematically? Perhaps holding to truth is a better way to put it. I’ll insert some preacher here and pull from a sage of years past Howard Thurman who said regarding this text “when He came to himself, He went to his Father…….(pause pause)….When you come to yourself…..(knock on the pulpit)….(lonnnng pause)…..You go to your….” There are probably multiple themes which I’ll leave you to derive in your daily study time but one major one is Our Fathers house is where we ought to be.
4. What needs to be done now?
The younger son says “I will go to my fathers house.”
5. Answer according to the truth. Be intentional.
I am glad the text did not end there and tells us that he went home. This is why I add the part about being intentional. Carry through is a problem we all have. And just as important truth has implications. If I say I want to communicate better then I have to make efforts to talk in different situations to make me more apt to do it in all circumstances. If I want to come home to truth I have to look to see that applied everywhere. Passive aggressiveness with truth only leads you to stay right where you are but truth shall march on.
6. Apply the principle to other circumstances.
This is one case where he did not apply this step I believe. Had he applied it he would have seen that principally his father had demonstrated love back up in Luke 15:12 when he took the money and ran. I think principally we tend to see our straying from truth makes us do similar things we think we deserve something.
7. What did we learn? About God, yourself, others. I can trust God….I need to love….I am a……
Many things to learn I suppose. God uses great parables to go to great lengths to show us how serious He is about reconciliation. (Which cuts to the quick because we hold grudges for years on things that will have no bearing any longer when Jesus returns.) I believe He learned what real love is: running towards us, showing its ankles and not embarrassed, not centered around works righteousness. The son should have learned that left to His own devices he will go to great lengths to sin and then write a book about it…or find himself in a book (or on facebook.) Lessons about the older son. Lessons about what real feasts are all about. Lessons about common grace and saving grace.
There are plenty of lessons. But most of it would have been lost had he not came to himself.