Receive and Apply

Receive and Apply

par-a-ble

noun

1. a short allegorical story designed to illustrate or teach some truth, religious principle, or moral lesson.

2. a statement or comment that conveys a meaning indirectly by the use of comparison, analogy or the like.

Jesus lays on the parables thick in Matthew 13, comparing the kingdom of heaven to a farmer planting seeds, a single mustard seed, leaven that refines flour, a hidden treasure, a merchant and a fishing net. Each of these comparisons accurately describes heaven, each also delivered to connect with a specific mind. When Jesus spoke, he was speaking to common citizens, farmers, bakers, and fishermen; his words were strategically directed to those lifestyles. While using a language that most of his audience would understand, Jesus also utilized a catch phrase familiar to the modern professional educator,  he inspired “higher order thinking”. By using analogies and symbolism, the listener has to discern what each character and detail represents in order to apply to the kingdom of heaven and in their daily lives. Making the situation familiar while also making the listener think results in the person actually hearing the message and downloading it into their long-term memory.

I have to make confession, I’m a nerd. I love watching all the brainy, educational shows on Discovery channel and National Geographic. I caught a show on NatGeo recently that was all about how our brains operate. One segment caught my attention in particular, the one about memory. During this portion of the show, the producers interviewed a man who competes in memory competitions professionally. They tested his abilities by sending his to a bar and assigning him the task of learning and remembering a set of twenty people’s names throughout the night. At the end of the evening, he flawlessly recalled the names of each stranger, along with some additional details about their lives and character traits. Then the producers had him reveal his secret to super-memory. As each person introduced themselves, this guy would focus on something specific about the person; a facial feature, scent of their cologne or perfume, anything that makes that individual unique. In his mind, he would then take that detail and assign it an object (an apple, for instance). He would then take the object and place it in a specific place in his intellectual living room. Every face has a name, each name would be associated with an object, each object a story behind it’s placement in the room. This recipe of association ultimately ensured the person’s name was locked into the memory of this “professional recollector”. Sounds a whole lot like a parable, doesn’t it?

That show really served as affirmation for what I do, spontaneously translating the auditory into visual. I essentially am fostering the same process of memory  by associating the day’s message with a visual image, then recording the back-story of the image by explaining the symbolism on the blog.

Today’s drawing is a lounge chair sitting in the middle of a plowed field with an apple resting on the seat. I planted my tomatoes yesterday and checked over the rest of our crop sprouting for this year before rain moved in today, so I already had gardening on the brain. The plowed field is a reference to the parables Jesus used with the audience in Matthew 13, the homesteaders of that day. I then added my own familiar association with the ancient parables, placing a lounge chair in the middle of the field. I am a furniture engineer by day, so upholstered seating is my life and leisure! Last, I added the apple. The purpose of parables is to convey knowledge. Among the associations of the apple is education, the apple on the teacher’s desk. Whatever knowledge you are aiming to grasp is encompassed by this apple, resting in the cultivated field.

Blessed are your eyes, for they see, and your ears, for they hear. For truly, I say to you, many prophets and righteous people longed to see what you see, and did not see it, and to hear what you hear, and did not hear it.

 

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