What would Jesus do: use his neocortex

Print Article

Rev. Walter Klockers

As human beings, we may consider ourselves to be a “higher life form” than any other living creature on the planet.

We have a well-developed neocortex, which allows for complex thinking. This may involve such things as compassion, mercy, and justice.

There may be times, however, when we find reason to put our neocortex activities on hold. It can happen when we perceive a threat.

As a result, our lower brain may then take over. This may be fueled by our emotions and bring us to a point of fight, flight or being frozen.

This process may save us from harm. However, the downside may be a temporary loss of the ability to reason well and think things through.

When our lower brain takes over in this way, we may act solely upon base emotions with little regard to any long-term consequences. Another name for it is being “bird-brained.”

Considering the above, I propose this hypothesis: Jesus used his neocortex often and more than most.

The things he talked about were mind-blowing. He was saying things like: “The greatest among you will be your servant.” Attempting to come to terms with what Jesus was saying would take a great deal of relearning and mental gymnastics; his followers would have to shift their neocortexes into overdrive.

Most who held power within Jewish society treated Jesus as a threat. They wished to fight but were temporarily frozen into inaction because of Jesus’ public support. However, they eventually saw their opportunity to put an end to this threat by having Jesus executed. Their bird-brained actions were fueled by hatred and they even broke their own laws to get the job done (regardless of the consequences).

Some would say that Jesus died in order that God could then forgive sin. (As if an all-powerful God was powerless to do otherwise).

The truth is that Jesus died because he threatened earthly power, by hanging out with the lesser, least, and lost, declaring the forgiveness of sin, and preaching radical grace. Jesus calls for us to do the same.

Our human pride has the capacity to undo Jesus’ teachings, to rationalize it away, or ignore it – a foolish, bird-brained activity. We can all fall into this trap.

My God-given neocortex reminds myself of this daily.

How about you?

Walter is pastor of Immanuel Lutheran Church and has served as parish pastor for more than 25 years.

Print Article

Read More Religion

Light bulbs are not always reliable

December 07, 2018 at 5:00 am | Columbia Basin Herald Yes, it is that time of year again. A short while ago, I went into the basement and unboxed our artificial Christmas tree. We purchased it back in December of 2016. The tree originally came with th...

Comments

Read More

Repeatedly losing and finding Nemo

November 30, 2018 at 5:00 am | Columbia Basin Herald Do you still have a Christmas gift that was given to you years ago? I have one that I’ve hung onto since 2003. That was the year that the movie “Finding Nemo” was shown in theaters. The central cha...

Comments

Read More

Understanding the disciples and self-awareness

November 23, 2018 at 5:00 am | Columbia Basin Herald It is easy to look back at Jesus’ disciples and judge them harshly. Save one (Judas), they seem to be well-meaning. However, they still usually end up missing the mark. Chief among them was Peter. ...

Comments

Read More

The surprising gift of multiplicity

November 16, 2018 at 5:00 am | Columbia Basin Herald Cynthia G. Lindner is part of the faculty of the University of Chicago Divinity School. Rev. Lindner is also a pastoral psychotherapist at the Center for Religion and Psychotherapy. In addition, she ...

Comments

Read More

Contact Us

(509) 765-4561
PO Box 910
Moses Lake, WA 98837

©2018 Columbia Basin Herald Terms of Use Privacy Policy
X
X