Dr. John E. Johnson

Dr. John E. Johnson
Blog, Wisdom

Monday Morning Proverb

“Folly brings joy to one who has no sense, but whoever has understanding keeps a straight course.” Proverbs 15:21

There’s hardly a day where someone has not lost one’s senses. The adjective “senseless” has become a common phrase to describe the news as of late. On September 23, a gunman walked into a Macy’s north of Seattle and committed a senseless act of violence. Almost daily, we read the news of senseless airstrikes on innocent children in Syria. Donald Trump seems to get his political footing, only to send some senseless Tweet.  And then there are my Chargers. My wife would tell you that listening to them on Sundays is senseless. They have a penchant for making senseless errors on the field and lose.

As the proverb notes, some even find joy in their senselessness. Those literally lacking “heart” have no cognitive discernment and no moral compass, and so they smile on their stupidity. To be senseless is, in the sage’s mind, to lack internal substance. It is to be thin, lightweight, and empty headed. We sometimes use other words–featherbrained, mindless, irrational, stupid, foolish, inane, idiotic. In contrast to the wise, they not only miss the target, they choose the wrong target. And in a senseless way they get a rise out of this–a rush in flouting the moral order, even though they almost always end up sawing off the branch that supports them. As Plantinga, in his Not the Way It is Supposed to Be, puts it, “they pull the plug on their on resuscitator.” Sounds like senselessness.

We see it all around us, and sometimes in ourselves (especially Sunday afternoons). We all have a tendency to occasionally “saw against the grain of the universe.”

As this verse underscores, it is different for those who have understanding. They are the ones who have come to their senses. They are on a straight course determined to make un-deviated progress towards the will of God. As Plantinga notes, they have a knack for fitting into God’s order. They recognize God’s laws and rhythms and know their boundaries and their limitations. They discern reality, i.e. they “tear along the perforated line.” Having given themselves to the disciplines of wisdom, they get life, realizing–

-the more you talk, the less people listen

-if you scratch certain itches, they just itch more

-the more self-absorbed we are, the less there is to find absorbing

Time we come to our senses..


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