Psychologists call it groupthink. It’s a simple term aptly describing a situation when a population continues to cyclically feed on an idea reinforced by only listening to each other. North Korea is a prime example of an entire nation closing avenues of communication that might expose them to ideas contrary to the ones they want to maintain. Members of political parties do the same thing by only listening to or reading editorials that bolster the ideas they already hold.
Churches and Bible study groups are also guilty. Bible verses are sought as proof texts to maintain isms and tenets. I have seen situations where access to pulpits was restricted to those belonging to a particular denomination. The justification being, “What could that unbeliever have to share with us? We have the truth.” Many years ago I heard (with my own ears) one of my church leaders denounce us for having books that were not published by our church’s publishing house.
This was the rational used by the population of Nazareth when they sought to throw Jesus off a cliff. “How dare he tell us things like this?” In so thinking the religious leadership ultimately demanded that the Romans crucify Jesus. Groups often become paranoid thinking the world is out to get them because they dare to think differently from the masses, thus turning themselves into God’s elect at the expense of all others.
To be open to the power of the Holy Spirit requires an open mind and the sharing of ideas. Unless we are open, the only way the Holy Spirit can get through to us with a new idea is to knock us off our horses. Well, He does have a history of doing that. Just ask Paul.
Written by Roger Bothwell on February 2, 2016
Spring of Life, PO Box 124, St. Helena, CA 94574