Saturday, July 09, 2005


Psalm 19
Journal entry dated March 11, 2005

"Above all, free your servant from presumption."

"Above all;" this is a strong statement, as much as to say that presumption is the worst kind of sin. What is presumption? An arrogant assumption of understanding. We are presumptuous when we jump to conclusions about situations or people, when we assume that others' intentions or motivations are transparent to us. Presumption is blindness that says, "I see." Presumption begins with the inability to fully understand ourselves, carries over into our inability to understand others, and arrives at our inability to understand God.

The opposite of presumption is listening. Presumption is summary judgment--it is the Sanhedrin saying, "we have no need to hear any more," and rendering its verdict: "guilty." Presumption is a period at the end of a statement, while humility is a question mark at the end of a query: "I'm not sure I understood that; could you tell me more?"

To be freed from presumption is to escape the prison of narrow-mindedness (or as the Greeks say, stenopsychia, "narrow-souledness") in order to enter into the ever-expanding universe of inquiry and curiosity, to embark on a journey of discovery.

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