I’m currently unemployed.
The last time I was unemployed, I decided to work on my art skills. I borrowed a book called Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain and got to work.
I used to be a pretty good artist, but had lost some skill over the years and couldn’t figure out why. Then I read the first chapter of the book and my questions were answered.
The author believes that every single person can learn to draw, because drawing is not an inborn skill but a discipline in learning to see the world differently.
We have to learn to see things differently because we have grown to see the world with words and categories, and that impacts the way we draw pictures.
Most adults, when attempting to draw a human face, will draw what they know to be a nose, lips, a mouth, ears, etc. But when we learn to see differently, we draw the shapes, lines, contours, and shadows that we see. Theoretically detaching from our left brain and accessing our right brain.
It’s all very fascinating.
The author walks the reader through several exercises to help access the right brain. Exercises like drawing an object without looking down at the paper. Or drawing faces upside down. These exercises seem strange because they challenge our thinking and don’t necessarily produce immediate masterpieces.
But the exercises do teach the artist to think differently. And this brain shift eventually produces remarkable works of art.
When I read this book I realized, this is exactly what Jesus is doing with his disciples.
The word “repent” literally means to “change your mind.” I’ve written about it before here.
And Jesus, after telling us to change our minds, challenges our traditional thinking with ideas that seem strange or backwards.
We think we understand the way the world works. We know what a nose looks like and we know how to draw eyes. But in the end, our life drawing doesn’t look very good.
That’s because we don’t know what we’re doing.
And until we admit that, the teachings of Jesus are unlikely to help us.
If we want Jesus to affirm our way of thinking, it’s never going to happen. Jesus want’s to change our minds.
That’s why his teachings often shocked people.
Like the time he told thousands of followers to eat his flesh and drink his blood and almost all of them deserted him.
Or the time he told a synagogue full of people that God wants to include gentiles in the kingdom and they tried to throw him off a cliff.
We think we know how things work. Then Jesus says:
“Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.” (Matthew 5:5, ESV)
Tomorrow, we vote for one of the most powerful offices in the world. Would you describe either candidate as “meek”?
What about the passage where Jesus says, “The greatest among you shall be your servant.” (Matthew 23:11, ESV)
Just crack open your bible to the gospel of Matthew and read chapters 5-7.
If you close the bible thinking, “Wow, me and Jesus think exactly alike!” Then you’re probably reading it wrong.
But, if like the original listeners, you are blown away by the God-man who speaks with authority, then let his words start messing with your mind.
Take some steps in doing what he says.
It may feel like a strange exercise, but in time, he’ll use your changed mind to produce a masterpiece.