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Eric's Sunday Sermon; Dead Set In Thinking

Updated on May 1, 2016

If we are not looking for the sunlight we will not find it.

Raining where I stand yet sunlight on the horizon
Raining where I stand yet sunlight on the horizon | Source

Openness of Closed?

There are two types of mindsets in general. One that is firmly entrenched in a way of thought or decision and one that is open to alternatives. Usually it is seen as issue based. But in fact it is about our way of looking at ourselves in the world. Let us be clear this is not just a concept from one person to another but separate parts of each of us within us.

When was the last time you had a conversation with someone about current politics and it went like this. “I like candidate X on this issue but I like candidate y on that issue”? Somehow these days we are not supposed to, pc wise, think like that. We are to pick a candidate and love them and hate the other one. For some reason we are supposed to be firmly committed to one side of all the issues. Somehow “I am thinking about that and evaluating all the sides of the issue” is just not acceptable.

This is a problem and it runs deep. I just have a hard time finding even good friends who can argue about issues looking for answers rather than defending or attacking based on already decided firmly held beliefs. Now do not get me wrong firm conviction to something is a good thing in general, or rather should I say, in specific but not in general. I believe there is much truth in the adage: You must stand for something or you will fall for anything. But there is another adage that one must always keep in mind: Contempt prior to investigation is a fault.

You can see the problem here. We must stand firm in what we believe in. Yet we must remain open to new ideas. An interesting question is seldom asked here. “Why should we remain open to new ideas?” I think most people just take that for granted when the idea is put in front of them. Of course the notion makes sense but it is one of those things that is easier said than done. Most of us have a hard time living by this standard.

Weather reminds us that change is constant

Can we fight the winds of change?
Can we fight the winds of change? | Source

What remains the same?

Can I afford not to take a second look?

Here is an interesting thing to consider. An adult walks down a community sidewalk and notices the big stuff around. Probably mostly thinking of other matters as they stroll in a safe environment. They really do not particularly notice the details of the small stuff as they pass by. They basically assume all is normal and move along with that assumption. But take that walk with a five year old. Oh my! You will be stopping and discussing and investigating the smallest flowers, cracks in the sidewalk, bugs and all manner of things worthy of inquiry and discussion. This is not to say that the adult is jaded or that the five year old is wise to notice all that is around. We look at it here to remind us that our assumptions of what has always been does not mean that it is not worth looking at again with a fresh set of eyes. In fact the details of life are constantly changing and those details make up the fabric of our overall view.

What am I to make of my religion? Am I to have learned some lessons well and then that is it? Did I decide in 1998 what it means to love my neighbor as myself and now that concept requires no more inquiry and adjustment. It is both exhausting and exhilarating to know that all things change in time. Living in the moment does not preclude forward looking or backward looking reflection. Of course I must stay open to changes in me. What was true of my body at 35 is truly not so true at 55. What was true having one child that is 3 years old is not at all the same as having several and in their 30’s. And so it is that my relationships change. Certainly my relationship with God is not at all the same as it was when I was a head strong college student with more answers than questions.

At our dinner table just last night my heart was filled with joy. My wife who was dead set on one candidate due to a history of support, was now making realistic inquiry as to a facet of a platform of a different candidate. To me the candidates made nearly no difference. It was the openness to discuss and investigate a new possibility that made me glad.

A fun one for me at my age is Pluto. Of course Pluto is a planet. It has been my whole life! How dare some stupid scientists tell me that on full analysis and investigation it indeed is not a planet? Finally I had to break down and learn of the fine distinctions being made. I think I get it now. Truth be told I still giggle to myself and demand that it is a planet. But alas in the planet science set I got for my young son there was no Pluto. Do not worry. I took the time to explain it all to my son. He ended up patting me on the shoulder in consolation of the loss of my firmly held belief.

Every flower was once a bud

Every flower looks different each day.
Every flower looks different each day. | Source

A song for thought

Blessings to you.

There is a very interesting place for people with spirituality. It can be somewhat described as where the brain meets the heart and soul. We are in fact a functioning trinity of sorts within us. There really is not a fine line or clear distinction between things like knowledge, feelings and faith. In fact in healthy people there is a oneness of the three. A difference but not a separation. One only has to look and observe someone with no spirituality to see that a “lack of” creates a less than whole. Something missing shows us clearly what is there in us. I raise this point of our parts to bring into focus our need for openness in thought. When we close down our reception to learning something new we create a wall between the parts of our wholeness.

How can my thoughts be receptive to my heart and connection with my God if they are shut down to something different? If I am dead set in an opinion then I must build a barrier to feelings and belief that are ever changing and transforming. Can we really build a wall around one thought and leave a door open to new thought – of what use then is the wall? Why would we want to block out new possibilities?

Maybe having things set in stone is a form of security. I know that when some decision is bothering me there is a relief when I finally make up my mind and stick to it. Perhaps that little reality is at the core of why we become dead set in our understandings. It just gets uncomfortable questioning our own beliefs. If I am set and happy in my daily routines and do not like change, just think about how much I resist changing my mental routine. But I learned long ago that variety is the spice of life. Now if I can just get over the fear of tasting it. Let us go forth with openness of mind and heart so we don’t miss out on anything this world has to offer.


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    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 21 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Thank you John

    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 21 months ago from Queensland Australia

      I am late reading this Eric, but a great message as usual. Thanks.

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 21 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Thank you Sam for coming by and leaving your nice message. It is nice not to always have to be right.

    • Sam Shepards profile image

      Sam Shepards 21 months ago from Europe

      Nice hub! I seem to close down my thinking as soon as I encounter certain types or groupes of people I had issue with in the past or who drain my time. Luckly I can read books with an open mind if ideas that are foreign to me. It all depends on the type or ideas and how they are worked out, the internet with it's discussions gets me on the protective, closed set very fast.

    • lawrence01 profile image

      Lawrence Hebb 21 months ago from Hamilton, New Zealand


      Reading this hub I thought of two trees. The mighty Oak and the flexible palm tree.

      Both trees have great uses, but you won't find many Oaks on Pacific Islands, why? Because when the storms and howling winds come the Oak isn't flexible enough and gets uprooted thus dying.

      The palm tree is flexible enough it just bends with the wind, but a carpenter can't make anything with the wood (unlike the Oak).

      The question is what do we want to be in life's storms?

      Enjoyed this hub.


    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 21 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Thank you Frank. Your encouragement is really good for me.

    • Frank Atanacio profile image

      Frank Atanacio 21 months ago from Shelton

      Eric, your sermons continue to educate me.. and I say that with a soft tongue because what you repreach is what I should have digested long ago.. I enjoy your sermons.. any day of the week..Frank

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 22 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Hi Denise, we sure are interesting aren't we. We are fortunate if we learn to accept ourselves as we grow. Thank you for coming by and leaving such a good note.

    • denise.w.anderson profile image

      Denise W Anderson 22 months ago from Bismarck, North Dakota

      "When we close down our reception to learning something new we create a wall between the parts of our wholeness." I love that thought! It tells me that I am on the right track! In order for me to understand myself, I need to be open to the fact that I am constantly changing, and that to not accept that change, it is to deny my own self-worth! What a profound lesson to learn!

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 22 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Dana, I don't want to miss out on anything. While there are "things" in this world I don't want to miss, I really do not want to miss out on thoughts.

    • Dana Tate profile image

      Dana Tate 22 months ago from LOS ANGELES

      We must be open-minded and always willing to grow. It amazes me when I deal with people and they are so stuck in their beliefs whether it's politics, religion, or what-not. They won't even listen or be open to new ideas. I am so glad that I have always believed in evolving and I am not one of those people growing old and people are saying "she's stuck in her ways"

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 22 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Ruby, my wife and I were divided on the candidates. For some reason neither one of us took a hard stance. So it was easier for us to just give it time and come together. Who knows we still have time.

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Fuller 22 months ago from Southern Illinois

      I've learned over the years to be open because old ideas are sometimes outdated. I've also learned that friends differ but they're still friends. My best friend Tammy dislikes Hillary and I like her, so we agree to disagree and still love each other. Thanks for sharing Eric.....

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 22 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Dora, one of my favorite things is to meet an old acquaintance that I did not care much for before. But our shared memories create a new bond and sometimes a new friendship. Thanks for coming by and sharing a bit of this day with me.

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 22 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Thank you Clive. It is very nice of you to come by and leave a note - I appreciate it.

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 22 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Ed, you make me wonder. My best buddies and I do not necessarily agree on a life outlook. As I think about it, I think we respect those differences and even sometimes envy each other. I am thinking of 3 of over 35 years and I think they in fact do help me to stay open minded.

      As for your political party status - I don't think they found that label yet ;-)

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 22 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Mel, I am one who just can't seem to separate out the different facets of my life. When I was younger I could "compartmentalize". It just does not seem to work that way anymore.

      As for our water -- I wouldn't know since our doctor recommends we don't drink it anymore. I spray it on my roses and it kills the aphids!

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 22 months ago from The Caribbean

      Good advice, Eric. Be open-minded, take a second look, have the courage to change if we need to. We can choose to like whom and what we previously disliked after we learn more.

    • clivewilliams profile image

      Clive Williams 22 months ago from Jamaica

      interesting indeed

    • ahorseback profile image

      ahorseback 22 months ago

      Happy Sunday IS in order Eric , I know what you mean as to the opines of popular times ! I worked with a friend of mine for almost forty years , he a Viet -Nam vet , ex- marine , cantankerous old grouch , me a quiet laid back kind of a funny guy , the opposing forces were fun for years and yet as we stopped working together about five or six years ago I have come to realize I don't really like the guy all that much . Yet we fished , hunted , camped out and generally hung out together for years We are all pretty set in our ways , personality wise and yet shouldn't we all be more open to change , to reason , to compromise ? Does that make me a libertarian ? .... Uh Oh ! Better go meditate on myself for a while .........;-]

    • Mel Carriere profile image

      Mel Carriere 22 months ago from San Diego California

      Beautifully stated. All of your sermons are fountains of wisdom, but this one was especially brilliant. I have never considered this inner Trinity inside us that you compare to the Trinity of the godhead, separate but simultaneously one and the same. They must be piping smart juice into the water over there in the Sprung Valley. Happy Sunday!

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 22 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Harishprasad, Thank you for your contribution to this sermon. Today I am taking my family to visit a spiritual place that I am not wholly convinced is what it is said to be. I have reservations but my wife is fully believing in great miracles at this place. It will be good for me to exercise my willingness to learn.

    • Harishprasad profile image

      Harish Mamgain 22 months ago from India, New Delhi

      Openness of mind and adaptability are the hallmarks of modern people. Eric, rigidity in any spehere of life brings up stagnation. You have brought forth nice reflections for all of us to ponder and act. I enjoyed going through this great sermon. Thank you.

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 22 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Happy Sunday to you Bill. I worry most Bill that when we shut down the openness of our thoughts, we are also shutting down the openness of our hearts. Showing more love may be our best defense.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 22 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Bev is a precinct committee woman, and she is going to the county precinct caucus this morning.....there is so much of the "my way or the highway" thinking in politics but really, politics just mirrors how many people feel in their own homes. The art of compromise...hell, the art of listening...seems to be lost in today's society, and we all suffer because of it. :)

      Happy Sunday my friend!