Contemplating Oz: If I Only Had a Brain

Life Notes—September 26, 2013 

  “O simple ones, learn prudence; acquire intelligence, you who lack it.”  Proverbs 8:5

“Oh, I’m a failure because I haven’t got a brain.”  The Scarecrow

Dorothy and Toto are traveling the yellow brick road when they come to an intersection.  As they contemplate the best road to take, a scarecrow hanging in a field suggests one route, and then another.  He cannot make up his mind which road is best. Dorothy tells him that is not helpful. The scarecrow replies, “That’s the trouble: I can’t make up my mind.  I haven’t got a brain.”  Of course, the scarecrow’s dilemma is not that he lacks a brain.  His problem is a lack of confidence in the brain he has.  He feels poorly equipped to deal with the challenges of life.  When decision-time arrives, he cannot decide whether to go right or left.  Many of us have a similar problem.  We have trouble making decisions and sometimes attribute our indecisiveness to a lack of intelligence.

I am fortunate to know many intelligent people, only some of whom have college degrees.  We all know people who are very smart about some things, and unbelievably dumb about other things.  IQ tests, college entrance exams, and advanced degrees reflect certain capacities to learn, but do they equate to intelligence?  Obviously, they do not.  Intelligence is situational.  The mental skills required to navigate the various challenges of life are different, based on the challenge at hand.  Not everyone receives every type of mental ability.  Mathematics comes easily to some and is the worst nightmare for others.  Personally, I have very little understanding of mechanical creations like cars and motors.  I have done many dumb things trying to fix a mower or work on my car.  However, it is not because I lack a brain.  I lack a type of intelligence and need the help of others.

The writer of Proverbs says that those who lack intelligence should acquire it.  We can acquire intelligence by learning more.  We can also acquire intelligence by borrowing it from others, like when we ask for help.  The Wizard assures the Scarecrow others have no more brains than he has.  Indeed, the Scarecrow is arguably the most creative and resourceful thinker in Dorothy’s group.  They are part of a community with diverse talents and intelligences.  Their community works together to overcome the various forms of wickedness the witch puts before them.  When we become active in a church, we join a community.  We no longer need to face our challenges alone.  Where we are dumb, others will be smart.  Dorothy’s community did not let wickedness stand between her and home.  Together, in community, we meet every challenge more capably.

Tom will be preaching downtown where Life worship is at 10:00 in Brady Hall and traditional worship is at 8:30 and 11:00 in the sanctuary.  Mitch is preaching at the west campus where contemporary worship is at 9:00 and 11:00.

Come home to church this Sunday.  Join your brain with a community of faith.

Greg Hildenbrand, Life Music Coordinator

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s