Romans 11:33-36 — from biblegateway.com

Doxology

33 Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God!
    How unsearchable his judgments,
    and his paths beyond tracing out!
34 “Who has known the mind of the Lord?
    Or who has been his counselor?”
35 “Who has ever given to God,
    that God should repay them?”
36 For from him and through him and for him are all things.
    To him be the glory forever! Amen.

 

Picture of an empty tomb -- so glad the tomb was empty! Happy Easter to those who celebrate it!

 

Romans 5:6-8

You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

 

Isaiah 53:3-4 — from biblegateway.com

3 He was despised and rejected by mankind,
a man of suffering, and familiar with pain.
Like one from whom people hide their faces
he was despised, and we held him in low esteem.

4 Surely he took up our pain
and bore our suffering,
yet we considered him punished by God,
stricken by him, and afflicted.

 

A group of workers are shown paving a new highway in this image.

From DSC:
What are the cognitive “highways” within our minds?

I’ve been thinking a lot about highways recently. Not because it’s construction season (quite yet) here in Michigan (USA), but because I’ve been reflecting upon how many of us build cognitive highways within our minds. The highways that I’m referring to are our well-trodden routes of thinking that we quickly default/resort to. Such well-trodden pathways in our minds get built over time…as we build our habits and/or our ways of thinking about things. Sometimes these routes get built without our even recognizing that new construction zones are already in place.

Those involved with cognitive psychology will connect instantly with what I’m saying here. Those who have studied memory, retrieval practice, how people learn, etc. will know what I’m referring to. 

But instead of a teaching and learning related origin, I got to thinking about this topic due to some recent faith-based conversations instead. These conversations revolved around such questions as:

  • What makes our old selves different from our new selves? (2 Corinthians 5:17)
  • What does it mean to be transformed by the “renewing of our minds?” (Romans 12:2)
  • When a Christian says, “Keep your eyes on Christ” — what does that really mean and look like (practically speaking)?

For me, at least a part of the answers to those questions has to do with what’s occupying my thought life. I don’t know what it means to keep my eyes on Christ, as I can’t see Him. But I do understand what it means to keep my thoughts on what Christ said and/or did…or on the kinds of things that Philippians 4:8 suggests that we think about. No wonder that we often hear the encouragement to be in the Word…as I think that new cognitive highways get created in our minds as we read the Bible. That is, we begin to look at things differently. We take on different perspectives.

The ramifications of this idea are huge:

  • We can’t replace an old highway by ourselves. It takes others to help us out…to teach us new ways of thinking.
  • We sometimes have to unlearn some things. It took time to learn our original perspective on those things, and it will likely be a process for new learning to occur and replace the former way of thinking about those topics.
  • This idea relates to addictions as well. It takes time for addicts to build up their habits/cravings…and it takes time to replace those habits/cravings with more positive ones. One — or one’s family, partner/significant other, and friends — should not expect instant change. Change takes time, and therefore patience and grace are required. This goes for the teachers/faculty members, coaches, principals, pastors, policemen/women, judges, etc. that a person may interact with as well over time. (Hmmm…come to think of it, it sounds like some other relationships may be involved here at times also. Certainly, God knows that He needs to be patient with us — often, He has no choice. Our spouses know this as well and we know that about them too.)
  • Christians, who also struggle with addictions and go to the hospital er…the church rather, take time to change their thoughts, habits, and perspectives. Just as the rebuilding of a physical highway takes time, so it takes time to build new highways (patterns of thinking and responses) in our minds. So the former/old highways may still be around for a while yet, but the new ones are being built and getting stronger every day.
  • Sometimes we need to re-route certain thoughts. Or I suppose another way to think about this is to use the metaphor of “changing the tapes” being played in our minds. Like old cassette tapes, we need to reject some tapes/messages and insert some new ones.

What are the cognitive highways within your own mind? How can you be patient with others (that you want to see change occur within) inside of your own life?

Anyway, thanks for reading this posting. May you and yours be blessed on this day. Have a great week and weekend!


Addendum on 3/31/22…also relevant, see:

I Analyzed 13 TED Talks on Improving Your Memory— Here’s the Quintessence — from learntrepreneurs.com by Eva Keiffenheim
How you can make the most out of your brain.

Excerpt:

In her talk, brain researcher and professor Lara Boyds explains what science currently knows about neuroplasticity. In essence, your brain can change in three ways.

Change 1 — Increase chemical signalling
Your brain works by sending chemicals signals from cell to cell, so-called neurons. This transfer triggers actions and reactions. To support learning your brain can increase the concentration of these signals between your neurons. Chemical signalling is related to your short-term memory.

Change 2 — Alter the physical structure
During learning, the connections between neurons change. In the first change, your brain’s structure stays the same. Here, your brain’s physical structure changes?—?which takes more time. That’s why altering the physical structure influences your long-term memory.

For example, research shows that London taxi cab drivers who actually have to memorize a map of London to get their taxicab license have larger brain regions devoted to spatial or mapping memories.

Change 3 — Alter brain function
This one is crucial (and will also be mentioned in the following talks). When you use a brain region, it becomes more and more accessible. Whenever you access a specific memory, it becomes easier and easier to use again.

But Boyd’s talk doesn’t stop here. She further explores what limits or facilitates neuroplasticity. She researches how people can recover from brain damages such as a stroke and developed therapies that prime or prepare the brain to learn?—?including simulation, exercise and robotics.

Her research is also helpful for healthy brains?—?here are the two most important lessons:

The primary driver of change in your brain is your behaviour.

There is no one size fits all approach to learning.

 


 

Isaiah 53:1-6 — from biblegateway.com

Who has believed our message
    and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?
He grew up before him like a tender shoot,
    and like a root out of dry ground.
He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him,
    nothing in his appearance that we should desire him.
He was despised and rejected by mankind,
    a man of suffering, and familiar with pain.
Like one from whom people hide their faces
    he was despised, and we held him in low esteem.

Surely he took up our pain
    and bore our suffering,
yet we considered him punished by God,
    stricken by him, and afflicted.
But he was pierced for our transgressions,
    he was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was on him,
    and by his wounds we are healed.
We all, like sheep, have gone astray,
    each of us has turned to our own way;
and the Lord has laid on him
    the iniquity of us all.

 

10 As the rain and the snow
    come down from heaven,
and do not return to it
    without watering the earth
and making it bud and flourish,
    so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater,
11 so is my word that goes out from my mouth:
    It will not return to me empty,
but will accomplish what I desire
    and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.

 

1 Corinthians 13:1-8 — from biblegateway.com

13 If I speak in the tongues[a] of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast,[b] but do not have love, I gain nothing.

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Love never fails. 

 

Psalm 33:4-5 — from biblegateway.com

For the word of the Lord is right and true;
    he is faithful in all he does.
The Lord loves righteousness and justice;
    the earth is full of his unfailing love.

Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.  Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.

 

 

Psalm 86:5 — from biblegateway.com

You, Lord, are forgiving and good, abounding in love to all who call to you.

 

12 So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.

 

Isaiah 1:17

Learn to do right; seek justice.
    Defend the oppressed.
Take up the cause of the fatherless;
    plead the case of the widow.

From DSC:
This verse especially caught my eye as we have severe access to justice issues here in the United States.

 

Zechariah 8:16-17 — from biblegateway.com

16 These are the things you are to do: Speak the truth to each other, and render true and sound judgment in your courts; 17 do not plot evil against each other, and do not love to swear falsely. I hate all this,” declares the Lord.

 

But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times

 

The Humanities May Be Declining at Universities — But They’re Thriving on Zoom — from edsurge.com by Rebecca Koenig

Excerpt:

Throughout the pandemic, versions of this close-reading conversation have taken place week after week. Organized through new nonprofits and small startups including the Catherine Project, Night School Bar and Premise, they bring together adults who want to spend their free time talking to strangers about literature and philosophy.

It sounds at first like an ambitious book club—except for the fact that many of these seminars are organized and led by college professors, some so eager to participate that they do it for free.

“Mostly it’s a way for them to do a kind of teaching they can’t do at their regular jobs,” explains Zena Hitz, founder of the Catherine Project and a tutor (faculty member) at St. John’s College in Annapolis, Maryland.

From DSC:
I’ve often thought that online-based learning may be the thing that saves the liberal arts (i.e., available throughout one’s lifetime and would be far less expensive). It would be ironic though, as many liberal arts institutions have not been proponents of online-based learning.

 
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