Countercultural Thinking

May 4th, 2011

The true value of a story lies in its effectiveness in presenting people dealing with life’s universal issues and struggles. People of faith naturally view these characters and their stories through a unique lens, seeking lessons and applications others might miss. In a media culture that glorifies violence; greed; and meaningless, random sexual encounters, ours is often a painstaking search.

Occasionally, though, we meet someone discerning and wise, someone who stays with us long after the screen fades to black. Someone like Lionel Logue, the highly unorthodox speech therapist who guided England’s George VI from a fearful stutterer to the beloved leader whose strong voice, broadcast over the unforgiving medium of radio, inspired confidence and hope during the troubling days of World War II. The story of the relationship between Lionel and George VI is the focus of the highly acclaimed movie “The King’s Speech.”

George was at first unwilling, uncooperative, and even combatant. Lionel’s methods seemed ridiculous to him. But he had exhausted his options with other therapists. No one had been able to help him. When his older brother Edward VIII abdicated the throne in scandal in 1936, George reluctantly ascended, exposing the terrible stammering problem that until then only family and close friends had known about. Lionel was confident, forceful, and not at all intimidated by royalty. He knew that he could help George, even when other, more notable professionals had failed. Perhaps his greatest gift to George was confidence, something George sorely lacked as a result of a lifetime of teasing from his brother and intimidation from his father. Because Lionel taught George to think differently, he began to speak differently and act differently.

Such is the clear message of Scripture for God’s people. The voice of the Old Testament wisdom writer warns us not to rely on our own insight but to “trust in the LORD with all (y)our hearts.” The bold message of Jesus was, “You have heard that it was said … but I say to you.” We are called to a countercultural way of thinking that results in a way of living that helps bring God’s kingdom on earth.

This article first appeared in the summer quarter teacher book for Adult Bible Studies

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