If you were to ask me, "Zach, why do you enjoy the Raleigh Fellows Program?" my response would be, "it offers a space where I get to think."

Warning: this might seem to get philosophical, pessimistic, and morbid at times but I swear I have a point. Take a look at this sculpture and assume this pose. 

With that warning, you may now enter into Professor Kunkel's Philosophy 101 class. 

We live in a society today that tries with everything in its power and being to get us not to think.  For us to go with the cultural norm. For us to believe whatever well-put argument is placed before us. For us not to form our own thoughts. Rather for us to adopt others' thoughts as our own. We are in a culture that thinks in 15 second video clips rather than the whole.  Or in quotes rather than the whole speech. Or in texts rather than conversations. 

Think about it. This past election, no matter how passionately you feel about who won or lost, we saw this in our society the WHOLE time. How many of us actually listened to a whole debate? Or read the whole transcript of a speech of Mr. Trump or Mrs. Clinton's? I'll go out on a limb and say very few of us did. And the point I'm trying to make has nothing to do with politics. No. It is much bigger than that. My point is that, in large, we as a people have quit critically thinking. We have begun to numb our brains to not think beyond what is easily accessible or already been told to us. And yes, I'm using "we" because I am in this group.

I'm pointing this out because it was pointed out to me.  (Side note: a pet peeve of mine is when people point out a problem, big or small, and have no sort of solution offered. I assure you, I will try not to annoy myself and give a solution/thought at the end.) I have realized that my generation is a people who has seen the movie instead of read the book. Or that gets their news in 140 character tweets instead of actually watching it themselves.

This is exactly the reason why I have cherished my time in the Raleigh Fellows program so far.  The Raleigh Fellows has given me a unique combination of topics that are important but that I've never thought about + space to think + counsel offered + people wiser than I ever dream to be. It has offered me to see not only how I myself stand, but also to delve in and see what the Bible says. To see what Jesus says about these topics. To really think about how that leads my thoughts and actions daily. I'm getting to have conversations with a number of people who are challenging me to not just glaze over the tough topics, but rather to dig deep and delve while I think.

So, in an effort to not contradict my own pet peeve, I hope this points out our societal need to think critically about things. That this pushed you to have conversations, with others and yourself. To seek counsel from those around you. And, mostly, to see what our Lord says about these topics.

I heard that Henry Ford said, "Thinking is the hardest work there is, which is probably the reason so few engage in it."