But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways. – James 1:6-8
Monday, September 15, 2014
One Head Is Better
I know double-minded. I am all too often of two minds, not just about boxers or briefs – besides that issue has been settled by the greatest development since the loin-cloth, the boxer-brief. I am of a mind to do the right thing, but it never seems to get done. Who’s running this show?
I fear for the status of my sainthood application because I like to dabble in the fleshly mind. Whenever I had to teach or speak, I would try to “get holy” beforehand, confess all my sins, and pray fervently. I can relax into double-mind mode. Being single-minded requires some vigilance, hence the call to watch and pray. Most non-believers seem to find it fairly easy to stay in single-mind mode on the other side of the divide, though some of the more militant atheists seem to be working harder at it. Or drinking harder.
With all the benefits of being single-minded, the decision ought to be easy enough. A person can have wisdom (the context in James), other spiritual gifts, and all the fruit of the Spirit, move mountains and be free of worry and fear. Life must be better and fuller when there is only one mind and that the mind of Christ.
In A Canticle for Leibowitz, mutants became known as the Pope’s Children. The Church which survived the nuclear devastation became again the repository of civilization and the source of order in the long Dark Age that followed. In mercy and reverence for all human life, there was a papal prohibition against euthanizing the deformed. Even two-headed monstrosities occurred and were allowed to live. At the end of the novel, after civilization has been rebuilt, complete with nuclear armaments once again, such a person known as Mrs. Grales wishes to have her other, apparently vestigial head, called Rachel, baptized by the prior. When humanity once again unleashes destruction upon itself, the head that has been associated with Mrs. Grales goes silent and ‘Rachel’ awakens with an angelic presence.
Being double-minded is equivalent to having two heads. If we could see it for what it is, we would be repulsed by our malformation. Many of us wait for crises or difficulties to let the “new” head take over. We think that day to day cares and concerns have to be handled by the “old” head which seems more pragmatic and sensible and is more acceptable, in many cases, to the people we encounter.
As an aside, it occurs to me in writing that last statement that one of the reasons for attending church regularly is to encourage, enable, and empower the “new” head by being among other like-minded.
The old head, like Fred, is dead. Its time has passed. The crucial event is not a nuclear holocaust but a cross. No matter how many other dead heads we must deal with in the world, this is the age of the new, living head. There is no need to cut it off; just let it go to sleep. Watch and pray.