J.C. Metcalf’s book Bible and the Human Mind brings to life the biblical Greek words dealing with the mind/heart interplay. He mentions second-hand opinions which some refer to as “parroting.” I see about how group think propagates myth and stymies contemplation and observation (seeing). There is an automated (emotional) trigger for certain opinions to color my listening with criticism making me unable to hear what God may be saying to me.
Often, the person that I borrow from is myself. My arguments have merely evolved and strengthened on the basis that I spoke them out loud before many times, and the more often they are said, the more they seem to be true. Repeating things without rethinking is bad form and miserable conversation. But I do it often.
It reminds me of the movie “Click” where the man races through his life in fast-forward mode missing out on the joys and difficulties of everyday process. “Don’t wish your life away” some have said. Similarly, second-hand opinion mode tends to take away the experience of being an individual alive to God living in this world, and listening and thinking in genuine conversation. Instead, because we respected the person who uttered (or parroted themselves) the words or ideas, we feel they have an authority. I find myself recognizing the antithesis of the parroted idea and escalating in my emotional reaction, and before I even have a chance to realize what has happened, the parroted words have escaped my lips. Politics and religion are certainly the greatest arenas where very little new is thought or said.
By recognizing the specific ideas that we parrot and interrupting ourselves, we can avoid this cycle and participate more fully with the truths. By really listening we can behold what we cannot control, but what will dumfound us with wonder.
This is worship: to be overtaken with God Himself, and to wonder at the Creation. But we cannot wonder if we lock in to a second-hand opinion.
List the words or ideas that you have parroted. Do they have to be true? What do you accept as ultimate authority? Are you true to that authority?