Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Tricks, Tactics and Thomas

How do we absorb information?

My friend David Storrs is a writer and sometimes participant on Hi-Jinks, a Nick at Night reality show where parents play pranks on their kids. Two reactions that got me thinking:

Alan Thicke pranked his kids by dropping them off at a skate-board shop, letting them pick out the board and wheels they wanted, then returning them an hour later to pick up the finished boards. Except when the kids return, it is no longer a skate-board shop, it is a woman’s clothing shop. The old switcheroo.

The kids were having none of it. After going outside to confirm they were at the same place on the same street as before, they decided to trust their gut. Just because the woman at the counter said it wasn’t a skate-board shop didn’t mean it wasn’t; just because it looked like a woman’s clothing shop didn’t make it so. They began checking the walls for nail marks where the boards used to be on display; and comparing the funny-accented sales lady with their memory of the skater chick that sold them their boards.

They investigated.

I like that.

The second was a prank played on a series of individuals. A youngster would be left in a receptionist’s office. The clerk would excuse herself, and ask the child for a favor: if Bob dropped in, give him a package. Once out of sight, she called the desk phone to ask if Bob had dropped in. As soon as the kid said, “No,” BAM! A man would crash through the ceiling and bounce off a desk.

I loved one little girl’s response. She said “no,” and the man crashed through the ceiling, landing at her feet. She then, matter-of-factly said, “Wait, he just dropped in.” Then, on prompt, she handed him the package. No disbelief, no outrageous surprise. She was told an adult would drop in, and an adult dropped in. Not the way she imagined, but he did indeed drop in. The action fit what she was told, so she calmly accepted it.

I like that too.

I guess this is why I’m a moderate. Investigate everything, do not take things at face value; and yet, when something fits, accept it – even if it requires a leap of faith to do so.

I wonder if this is the kind of dichotomy Jesus was getting at with Thomas after the resurrection. He sanctions Thomas’ need to investigate (he does not rebuke Thomas for doubting, check out John chapter 20 if you doubt me on that), and at the same time blesses those that believe without seeing.

Thomas chose to investigate when he heard things that contradicted his senses. But when events fit what Jesus had told him earlier, even though in a way Thomas never could have imagined, he readily accepted and believed with his whole heart and mind.

May I ever be like Thomas.

Just my thoughts,


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