Tuesday, November 25, 2008

The Hypothalamus and the Beatitudes

The hypothalamus is that part of your brain that tells you you're hungry. My 12th grade psychology teacher taught us a lot of different things, but this is the one piece of information that I retained.

And it’s to a strange extent.

For example, I’ll be eating a snack in front of my dog Copland. He’ll politely sit in front of me waiting for my charitable contribution or an inadvertent crumb. The longer he waits the longer his shoelace-like drool gets. His hypothalamus is at work.

My son Enoh also has a hypothalamus. Although we’ve put it on a 3.5 hour schedule, it’s still obvious when Enoh receives a special message from that part of his brain and he shares it with us in the middle of the night in the form of a piercing scream.

And then there’s my response to being hungry. I often become irritable, grumpy, impatient and downright desperate when I’m really hungry. Those are the times I salivate like Pavlov’s dog (the other psychological thing I remember) when I think about food.

So maybe that’s why I’m so attracted to that part of the Sermon on the Mount where Jesus tells the crowds “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled”.

Oh man, that’s good stuff if you’re hungry!

It’s like that feeling of excitement I got last night when I had the bottomless basket of tortilla chips and salsa at Chili's. There’s nothing as satisfying as being filled when we’re hungry.

And Jesus calls us to be hungry. Notice he’s not as concerned here with being righteous as he is with hungering for righteousness. Maybe that was one of the problems with the Pharisees. They were so concerned with acting like they were full that they had no time to desire true righteousness.

This has been my challenge lately. It’s impossible to consume Jesus’ words without being convicted – whether you’re in Croatia or America. His words are often sharp and direct.

But they’re incredibly satisfying. Especially that part about being filled.

1 comment:

Tracy said...

Great parallel! And thanks for pointing out "hungering for" vs. "being" righteous. I hadn't noticed that before.