Yep, I’ve been guilty of it myself. The old numerical blog title. I’ve written them. Goodness knows, I’ve tweeted them.
The reason folks keep writing such headlines is that they work. When I analyze my tweets, those numerical headers always get some of the best responses.
I suspect that it’s because our minds like order. From our earliest days our mind works to create patterns, making order out of this world of shapes and colors. Eventually we learn that round shapes are balls. (My dog is quite puzzled by apples which seem to be balls but are not.)
In general our need for order and classification serves us well. Imagine how difficult our days would be if we had to start from square one every day. Hmmm… this is a round thing… I wonder what it is. I have to learn its name.
Yet our need for orderly characterization also does us a disservice. There’s a reason we refer to the life of the spirit as a journey and not a system. We never have it nailed down. We never have all of the right boxes and organizational cubes into which we can fit everything neatly.
The Spirit is wild, as unpredictable as wind. It brings order out of chaos but sometimes brings chaos out of order. In the life of the spirit sometimes when we are most unsure we are most right. Sometimes when the path seems least clear we’re not lost but rather exactly where we need to be.
The life of the spirit is more perpetual discovery than learning a body of knowledge. (And sometimes we have to unlearn as much as we learn.) Just when we think we have everything nailed down the wind blows again and all of our neat lessons are jumbled and tossed.
Gospel says that this is good news.
In this summer week, may we have the courage to believe that it’s so.