Monday, December 11, 2017

Shake Off the Fear, Spread the Love!

by Peter Leavell @peterleavell


Ellen Langer did the impossible. She sent eight 80-year-old men back in time.

The year was 1979

Eight old men on a bus, sequestered away from the world. On a retreat. Created by Ellen Langer.

Each man had been studied carefully. Hearing, joint pain, memory—everything had been documented.

Coddled by nurses in nursing homes, they weren’t ready for the upcoming shock. As the men managed to get off the bus, they were forced to haul their suitcases to their rooms themselves.

They barely made their rooms.

When they looked around, they were stunned. The decorations were from 1959, when they were in their 50’s. Magazines in racks featured Nixon and Khrushchev. Rio Bravo played on an old television. Outdated clothes hung in closets.

http://www.loc.gov/pictures/item/2009632334/
Nixon and Khruschev in 'Kitchen Debate



That week, in the evenings, the men chatted about their work, and soon they spoke in the present tense about their past. “I do this, and I do that,” became the normal chatter.

These men traveled back in time.

At the end of the week, they went through extensive physicals. All were standing straight. IQ was 64% higher. All looked younger. All were more athletic, flexible. Memories were sharper.

They were younger.

Ellen Langer was shocked at how much these men changed. She’s duplicated the experiment over and over in various ways, telling maids that their work was exercise and those who believed their work was for fitness lost weight and size, compared to those who believed cleaning was simply work. And so many more.

The body, she discovered, believes what the mind tells it. They were young again, because they believed they were in their 50's.

That’s why propaganda is so dangerous. Or useful.

Science, as usual, is catching up with the Bible.

Philippians 4:8 ESV

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.

Our future is secured, forever with Christ, Who loves us. He’s offered the forgiveness we crave. The eternity we long for.

So, why does the world see Christians as a fearful people?

The world has a point. Like those men in the experiment, we watch the media carefully for hand chosen stories that would never touch us had we not seen them on television. We cry over tragedies half a world away and we’re horrified enough to offer a quick prayer. We believe that the grave is end and the loss of possessions makes a life not worth living. We act as if politicians own our soul.

We live in a culture of fear. Magazines, movies, stories, posts on social media—our reality terrifies us. Every election we’re reminded how terrible our country is while we watch with full bellies and text our friends, inside the four walls that keep us warm.

Yes. Horror and death are real. Tragedy rips us apart. I’ve lived them. But it doesn’t end there.

Someday, our tears will be wiped away. Our pain removed. Peace restored. The lion and the lamb rest together.


Hope. Are we living it? Or are we simply adding a 'Lord willing' or 'but God is still good' at the end of our thoughts?

As authors, writers, content creators, what are we reflecting to our followers? Fear? Hatred? Or the light of Christ?

John 13:34-35 ESV

A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.

Why do people know us for our fear? Our hatred? Our anger? Our sinfulness?

What we tell ourselves is what we believe. And what we tell our followers creates the culture they live in.

Are we rehashing the promises of Christ? Or fear mongering?

We’ve a higher calling, my friends.

~~~~~
Peter Leavell, a 2007 graduate of Boise State University with a degree in history, was the 2011 winner of Christian Writers Guild's Operation First Novel contest, and 2013 Christian Retailing's Best award for First-Time Author. Peter and his family live in Boise, Idaho. Learn more about Peter's books, research, and family adventures at www.peterleavell.com.
                                      ~~~~~


5 comments:

  1. I love this post, Peter! Thank you for sharing this with us. I'm always impressed with your research. And I appreciate how this applies to writers and non-writers. So encouraging and affirming. Our minds are powerful tools. Thanks for posting!

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    1. Thanks, Annette! You’re ability to encourage is such a blessing, btw.

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  2. Yes! I have been preaching through John 14-17 over the last few months and it certainly doesn’t line up with the “poor persecuted us...we need to get angry and seize the levers of power if things are ever going to be right again!” mentality that is all too prevalent in American Christianity.

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    1. Great passages! Would enjoy hearing you preach through that!

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    2. The audio is at www.calvarybaptist.life/sermon-audio if you have the time and inclination :)

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