". . .the word of God is not bound." II Tim. 2:9b

Friday, March 25, 2016

Thinking Differently

Being the wife of a bookseller has its advantages. Books for my kids, books for my classroom, and of course, books for me all find their way into my house at little to no cost to me. When I help sort through giant bins of potential inventory, I often find books on theology, psychology, literature, travel, biography, and other subjects I'm currently interested in. My most recent treasure is a Ryrie Study Bible published by Moody.

Now that I've had my new/used Bible a few days, exploring its notes and cross-references a bit as I reread and meditated on I Timothy, I realized that even though this Bible is the same translation as my previous one, I am thinking in different ways about the words. Even though I've read them before, they seem fresh and new. They fairly jump off the page.

Is it the fresh typeface? Having fewer words per page and more white space? Perhaps the newer binding? (My old Bible was also a salvage treasure). It could be the Ryrie study notes, naturally. Or maybe I'm just falling in love with the Scriptures all over again. But I think it's the combination of all of those things. Having a new Bible is exciting! It's an example of how shuffling can rearrange thinking.

Teachers naturally capitalize on this phenomenon in the classroom. One day in my senior English class, I decided to change the seating chart. The students were suspicious, even defensive. "Are you moving us because we're so naughty?" one asked. Although a few members of the small class did tend to get chatty when seated near their friends, I opted for a more palatable and more accurate reason: "When you sit in a different place, you think in different ways."

The seniors were still skeptical.

"Look at you and [Laura]," I said to one girl. "You two are best friends. Sometimes you read each other's minds. More than once, you've turned in paragraphs that were practically identical. You didn't copy each other. You just think alike because you're so close. If we separate you, it'll allow you to expand your thinking."

The class agreed to the new seating arrangement, and sure enough, it created new discussion leaders and new perspectives immediately.

Sometimes all of us need to shuffle the deck and start fresh. What a refreshing thought for spring!

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