03 November 2005

…on returns on investment.

For most commodities, we want to get the most for our money in quantity and quality. Ironically, for learning and education, we often want the least for our money. The degree is what we’re after and the easy route with the least work is sought—the easier courses and the easier professors. Education, intended for the cultivation of minds and critical for the survival of a free society, is reduced to only the diploma or a credential necessary for status and success. When the course or degree requirements are met, the process of learning comes to a stop. Learning—engaging and exercising the mind—is hard work, which we too often no longer see a need for. Physical fitness and diet is a priority for our culture (as evidenced by the spectrum of products successfully marketed to us), but we have a disposition to discount or ignore the care and feeding of our minds. We become mentally lazy and lose the ability to evaluate and think about things objectively and independently. As a result our ability to discern truth from error—to view and address the issues of life—through the lens of truth and wisdom is compromised. For Christians, apathy—as it relates to cultivating our thinking—is nothing less than a tragedy.

Solomon wrote that, “The heart of the prudent acquires knowledge, and the ear of the wise seeks knowledge.” (Proverbs 18:15) Paul, writing to Christians, exhorted us to “be transformed by the renewing of our minds.” (Romans 12:2) Christian minds are “renewed” through the Word… the written Word. Prudence is cultivated, not by neglecting knowledge and learning, but by critical thinking engaged in life’s issues, which comes in part by reading good books along with The Good Book. So let us, not only watch our diet and exercise regularly, but also let us take up and read to get our thinking minds in shape!
(First published in DeiLight September 2004)