When I learned to add, the teacher used phrases like, “two plus seven equals nine.” So, when I talked about what I was learning, I called it “plussing.” It took me a while to stop describing addition as plussing. However, I think it may need to come back into our vocabulary. It could be our addition to the American lexicon. Under some circumstances, it’s creeping back in. For example, at Pixar, if you are going to criticize another person’s work, you must add a constructive suggestion. They call it “plussing”, meaning that you are helping your co-worker. You have seen their good work and helped make it better.
What a world it might be if we were constantly plussing rather than just criticizing.
I started thinking about the things we ‘add’ to our Biblical understanding. Think about the simple addition that leaks into our Biblical worldview as it overlaps with the culture around us. I am constantly bombarded with extra-biblical thoughts from entirely secular people. Some of that I have let through without much filtering and I end up with the Bible-plus. I must be careful here.
About two years ago, I stopped watching the news, and most all sports, because they were piling non-biblical thinking on my mental mound of ideas. I needed to stop the flow of information so I could weigh the concepts and ideas that were making truth claims, against the Biblical standard. It has been very helpful. I heard a pastor say that the news is trying to get me to stay through the commercial. That should not have been a surprise, as it is a commercial enterprise, but I had my eyes opened. I am glad to say that I haven’t missed it.
As for the filtering of mounds of information, I am trying to treat the culture’s constant drone like California mountain dirt. It may be red, and it may even be beautiful, but it has very little gold in it. So, I’m trying to treat it that way. Most of the culture’s commentary is dirt, and my job is to sift out the gold. (Don’t forget that most of the gold found was in the form of tiny flakes.)
My gold mining consists of limiting the flow of mud to a manageable amount and running it through a Biblical sluice box. It works practically like this; when an idea is thrown out at me, I ask “Is that a Biblical idea? How does the Bible speak to that concept?” If there is no direct Biblical filter, I will ask if it seems moral, ethical, or good by Biblical definitions. If it passes the initial filter, it may get enough of my mental attention to be panned out in further consideration. Remember, most of it is just rocks, mud, and dirt.
I often know intuitively or in my gut that there is something wrong with an idea. Life experience allows for quick decisions in many cases. But when the time comes to sit with an idea to see if it is gold or fool’s gold, I must give it close attention.
Sometimes I need to look up an idea in the Biblical text specifically, or even consider the possibility of changing my understanding. But by the time I do, an idea has been examined under the bright lights of the Bible. This it how the gold is found. I know growth is imperative but real growth does not undermine truth.
I don’t really want to have a worldview that is the Bible-plus.
Pastor Walt Groff