Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Cherry Picking

The Bible is a vast work written by many over centuries.  Of course it is inspired by God and is the Holy Bible. However this clear voice of love and truth require the ‘ears to hear’ and the ‘eyes to read’.  To Pontius Pilate and the Romans, the authorities of the day, Jesus was simply a trouble maker.  Throughout history the words of the Bible have been interpreted and mis interpreted.
Jesus gave us a “key” to the Bible.  Asked to sum it up he said, “Love God and Love your Neighbour as Yourself.”  Love is the answer.  Throughout history there was ‘judgement and mercy’ but Jesus said essential mercy and compassion are more important.  “Judgement is the Lord’s.   “Take the timber out of your own eye before you try to take the sliver out of your fellow mans eye”.  “Judge not lest ye be judged.”   “Forgive.’  These are the Christian messages.
Cherry picking is taking something out of context and using this isolated snippet of information for a different purposes.  It’s all too common in advertising, marketing and politics. It has no place in spirituality and Biblical interpretation.  Given that Jesus has given us the key to the Bible I consider every other aspect against the very foundation of Christianity as Jesus laid it out. Given navigation requires one or best two or more points outside my own location I can use this ‘key’ as a way to unlock the direction and course of my life relative to the spiritual life. The Bible is for me to reflect most on my behaviour not on others. It’s greatest gift is that it guides my spiritual development.
I can’t just cherry pick any old phrase from the Bible and insist that this represents the whole.  That would be like asking one Canadian what he thinks about something and then insisting this is what Canada believes as a country.
In my work as a physician,  ‘cherry picking’ is the business practice popular with the new doctors in which one picks an ‘easy practice’, avoiding complicated and sick individuals because the most money is made with the ‘worried well’. This is why the ‘cosmetic health care industry’ of ‘vitamins and ‘health foods’ makes billions of dollars a year.  The well are usually rich because they are healthy enough to work and make money. The really sick are the chronically ill and the system fails them.  As a Christian I must beware of the temptation to ‘cherry pick’ my practice for the financial benefits that come with treating the worried well.
As for learning, there’s discernment, which I use in choosing the influences about me, the friends I spend time with, the music I listen to and what I read mostly. Discernment is not ‘cherry picking’ but it involves “selection bias’.  With discernment though I’m selecting the information and influences that will help me as a Christian grow as a person.  Cherry picking is the flip side of discernment.

No comments: