|Good Morning Everyone,|
Our theme for this month: “Think for yourself”
Our Bible verse for today: “Plans fail when there is no counsel, but with many advisers they succeed.” Proverbs 15:22
Our thought for today: “Don’t live in an echo chamber – part two”
In 2005 Presidential historian Doris Kearns Goodwin published her bestselling work “Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln”. It was about how upon winning the Presidency, Lincoln recruited into his cabinet to be his closest advisors a team of political rivals who had previously vigorously opposed him. Lincoln brought these rivals into his inner circle for numerous reasons, but one was because he wanted intelligent people around him who would challenge his thinking and force him to be clear and sharp about what he believed and why he believed it.
The kind of intellectual courage and confidence displayed by Lincoln by surrounding himself with people from opposing points of view used to be an attribute that was admired, promoted, and taught in American society. College campuses used to be places where young people were forced to grapple with a vast array of competing and conflicting ideas and to sort through them, eventually deciding for themselves what ideas were true and best.
But not anymore. Today in our culture it is much more common for people to retreat into “echo chambers”, or “safe-spaces” where they don’t have to deal with competing ideas. The term “echo chamber” is a metaphor for an environment where only safe and agreeable ideas are allowed in, and all others are shut out. Therefore, the only ideas the person inside the echo chamber is exposed to are those they already agree with.
As was note in yesterday’s devotional, the most extreme example of this is seen on college campuses among young liberals. However, conservatives are equally guilty of creating echo chambers, and this is not a good thing. Proverbs 15:22 is just one of several Proverbs where wise King Solomon exhorted his readers to be open to considering various points of view before deciding what to believe and what actions to take.
This is important advice. Christians in our day need to be strong and clear in our thinking so we can effectively engage with people regarding the important issues of our day. I believe that all of us, on both sides of the political spectrum, need to come out of our echo chambers. We need to have the courage to honestly listen to and explore the ideas being promoted by those different from us.
Abraham Lincoln wasn’t afraid of giving serious thought to opposing ideas, and we shouldn’t be either. We need to be willing to listen to what others are saying, compare that to what we believe, and then decide what the best position is. If we do that, our own thinking will be sharper and our intellect will be stronger. And also, we just might come to a better understanding of the people who see things differently than we do.
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