A Change of Mind

Have you ever wondered how you got mired in a certain way of thinking without giving it any thought?

It came to me one morning back in the eighties, when a scripture I had read or heard somewhere popped into my mind. “Be transformed by the renewing of your mind….” (Romans 12:2). I actually stopped what I was doing at the time and thought about what that might mean. And so I tried it. It meant monitoring the daily words that inhabited my mind, and choosing only the ones that could enhance my life rather than degrade it.

This is not a one-time exercise. It is an ongoing challenge, sorting thoughts, changing the words to speak, goofing up, and going back to the drawing board.

For instance, have you ever said to yourself, “I’m going to give so-and-so a piece of mind!” Well, you can bet your bottom dollar that that piece of your mind is not going to be a good piece.

In Isaiah 55:8 God said: “For my thoughts are not your thoughts…” Too bad, eh?

Happy Saturday.

Metanoia for the Modern World

A few years ago I attended a lecture given by an evangelical Catholic priest.  It was very informative, and I came away with a new word. Metanoia. It was added to my word collection in one of many journals, and filed away for future reference. I’m hauling it out today in the form of a blurb and poem I wrote in 2009:

Are we praying for ways to redeem the world or planning ways to destruct it? Remember Saul on the road to Damascus. God stopped him in his tracks on that hot, dusty road and struck him first with blindness and then with metanoia, a change of heart. Saul the persecutor became Paul the saint. God can do that in today’s world too.

World leaders need to do some soul-searching as did Saul. Are they interested in peace or is power their real agenda? If it is a power struggle, God, as he did with Saul, will have the final say. The world is getting a wake-up call. Perhaps the energy spent on threats would pay better dividends if used for promoting peace. Who is perceived to be the most powerful? Let them put that power to use constructively rather than destructively.

God can change the hearts of ordinary people also. Let us each leave our own little world, the world of personal, pithy, private life, and step into the big picture. Let us all step onto the road to our own Damascus and experience metanoia.  And now the poem:


On that long road to Damascus,

the Lord stopped Saul in his tracks:

“Why, Saul, do you persecute me?”

the voice from heaven asked.

“Who are you, Lord?”

the stricken man cried

as he rubbed his sightless eyes.

“I am Jesus whom you persecute!”

the voice from heaven replied.

For three days Saul was blinded,

he neither ate nor drank a drop

until he was convicted

to change the way he thought.

When he saw himself as Jesus did

his eyesight was regained

and Saul the persecutor

became known as Paul the saint.

We need that kind of metanoia

in our modern world today,

let people think before they act

in such destructive ways.

Away with guns and knives and threats

and bombs and words of war!

Hear God’s voice from heaven say,

“These things I do abhor!”

And if we listen carefully,

if we try to be humane,

then surely metanoia

will touch our world again.

Our road to Damascus is just as real today

as it was in Paul’s time…

may we meet Jesus on the way.