The Head and the Heart

In Matthew 22 Jesus reaffirms Deuteronomy 6 where we are to love the Lord our God with all our heart, all our soul, all our strength, and with all our mind. We can easily forget the mention of our mind, especially in the present age that tends to dumb things down and emphasizes a “heart-felt” faith rather than an intellectual approach.

What we can easily overlook is that the use of “heart” in the Scripture seldom refers to human emotions or feelings. In the Bible the heart is pictured as pondering, thinking, reasoning, and exercising wisdom. There is not the dichotomy of heart and mind that is often made in our culture. The seat of the emotions in Scripture is one’s bowels or gut feelings. This is because our emotions often affect our digestive system.

In addition to its reasoning ability, the heart in Scripture is also seen as the core of one’s being and it is identified with one’s will and determination.

There is entirely too much dumbing down in Christian outreach and nurture. There is also too much appealing to emotions and experience. The result of this is a lack of knowledge, wisdom, and understanding. Disciples are not developing the mind of Christ (cf. 1 Cor. 2:16).

Part of what it means to be created in the image of God is that human beings are rational creatures. Indeed the Creator of heaven and earth created a world that is ordered and intelligible. And the creation is a work of the Triune God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Interestingly, in John’s Gospel the Son of God is called the “Word”, or in the Greek the logos. The Greek term means more than “word”. Its possible meanings include an account or reckoning, an argument, principle, reason, or thought.

Faith is not just credulity or gullibility! It is based on evidence. Belief may be supra-rational (beyond reason), but it is not irrational. It is not undone with a healthy skepticism and willingness to use reason.

Since You Asked…

What is meant by the term “catholic” as when we confess, “I believe in the holy catholic Church?”

The term “catholic” means whole and refers to a church which receives the Christian faith intact without alteration or selection of matters of the faith. The opposite of catholic is heretic, one who picks and chooses which parts of the faith to accept. Thus “catholic” is more specific than “Christian” and is not a synonym for “ecumenical” or “worldwide”. (from “Manual on the Liturgy” companion to the LBW, from Augsburg Pub.)

- often when the “C” is capitalized “Catholic” is referring to the Roman Catholic Church, and when the “c” is lower case “catholic” is referring to the Church receiving the whole of the faith.