Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Decision Making 2

No matter how much volition, affection or intellect we use, sometimes our decisions are made by others. Sometimes this is actually prayed for as we are unsure as to how our decision should go- a clear answer from God is always found with a closed door. That doesn't mean that it makes it any easier when the decision is made for us by others. It still can smart. It still can make us question God. Why God? Why this decision? I did pray for a clear answer but why this answer? I'm quite sure we will not understand God's answer to our prayers here on this side of eternity. I can only trust that our gracious and loving Father has our best interest at heart and knows when the decision we would make would be wrong and thus has someone else make the decision for us.

Decision Making

A good friend Laura has told me that three things are needed when making a good decision: volition, affection, and intellect. Funny, these are the recognized three primary human psychological faculties.
Volition is will, choice, decision. "Choice is the familiar, and volition the scientific, term for the same state of the will" according to Wikipedia. Volition has to do with our desires. Volition can be external or internal depending on whether the desired change is the surrounding world or inside ourselves.
Affection is feeling or emotion. However, in decision making affection really goes beyond emotions to values and propensity (natural inclination).
Intellect according to Merriam-Webster is:1 a : the power of knowing as distinguished from the power to feel and to will : the capacity for knowledge b : the capacity for rational or intelligent thought especially when highly developed. Intellect leaves out emotion (affection) and will (volition).
This is why in decision making it is important to use all three human faculties! Making a decision on desire alone could prove to be financially disastrous. Making a decision on affection alone could make one happy for the moment until the long term sets in. Making a decision on intellect alone could be financially great but emotionally miserable.
Making decisions in any area of our lives really should involve volition, affection and intellect! This is true even when pursuing a "calling" to ministry. Many I fear enter ministry "callings" using only the faculty of affection. As my good friend Laura commented on my previous posting "Called", one must use our intellect as well to ensure our skills and experience fit with the ministry. One can not rely only upon feelings! Volition is involved as well. The desire of our will must be to love the community in which we are being "called".
To make any decision without volition, affection, and intellect can only result in unhappy persons, in unhappy situations. God gave us a heart, soul, and mind to be used in conjunction with one another.


Awww Easter! Such a wonderful celebration! This year I decided to put some of my training from seminary into practice. Instead of the usual classrooms, I created a tomb, such as it was, as part of a large classroom. Lying in the tomb was a sheet to represent the linen cloth wrapped around Jesus. I used the resurrection eggs, but this time handed them out to the children to bring up at the appropriate time in the story. This, I felt, would keep the children actively involved in the "story". What was surprising to me about the morning was how little the children knew of the story of our Lord Jesus and His death and resurrection. True, some of these children have not heard the Easter story every year or maybe ever. However, some of the children have been raised in a church setting from birth. I passed around vinegar and asked the children what it was. Many guessed glue! Some even were brave and tasted the vinegar but were uncertain as to what it was. After opening the egg w/ the spear, I asked what flowed out of Jesus side. They guessed blood but couldn't get the water. I even gave them hints like "it's something you drink". Then I got blood and wine, as the response. It was eye opening to me to think that this most important foundation of Christian theology, it not known by our children! When I asked why Jesus had to die on the cross, it took several attempts to come up with sin. Wow, Jesus death and resurrection is the basis of our faith! This Sunday just served as a critical reminder to me that our children don't need to just learn stories! They need to be pointed to God through every lesson that is taught! It's great if they can recite the story of Noah and his ark. But if they do not understand how this story fits into the big picture of the redemption story, then as teachers, we have NOT done our job! Many curriculum's today do not have a bible story but instead contain a moral truth. Even there, we must be ever so careful. If our children understand that they must serve others but don't understand why, then they have no foundation to stand on! We certainly have our work cut out for us as ministers of Christ! We need to remember that we do not want children that can recite bible stories and moral characteristics without understanding the why behind them.