Filter-checking Filter

In an attempt to pop my filter bubble (see the previous post) I have been purposefully seeking out more variety in my information sources.   This means that I must dust off my own internal filtering skills when evaluating a communicated message or a piece of information.   Does the message make sense?  Is it based on solid data and/or analysis?  What is the bias of this particular source?  What is my own bias?  Facts are facts, of course, but after being externally filtered by news sources and then interpreted through my own internal biases, experiences, ideologies and perspectives my “facts” might look very different from someone else’s “facts.”

No wonder our public discourse tends to be polarized and unproductive.

But our private discourse can be very different.  The beauty of human communication is that it offers us the opportunity to see things through the eyes of another.  As we share our interpretive frameworks, our filtering systems, we try them out on each other, hear new perspectives, and look at the facts through fresh lenses.  We might adjust our filters; we might change those of another. Or both.  In any case, when two people honestly and respectfully compare their perceptions they are both enriched.

My son recommended the television show Monk to me for workout and treadmill entertainment.  (It’s available on Netflix along with other television treasures that I never knew about or had time to watch before.)  Monk is a detective who is hilariously handicapped by obsessive compulsive disorder.  In one episode Monk is hanging wallpaper and, of course, fixates on making sure the paper is straight.  He pulls out a level, over his assistant’s objections, and insists that the level is not to be trusted.  Monk then unveils another level.  When asked what that was for, he answered something like, “This is the level to check my level.  It’s my level-checking level.”

I need a filter-checking-filter.   My filters are not always straight.  My perspective is slanted by my own experiences and exposures.  Yours is too.  Together we can check each other’s perceptions.

Finally, there is one ultimate filter-checking filter that I apply to my perceptions.  Amazingly, like a human interaction, when I interact with God he rubs off on me, and I adjust my thinking according to his perfect perspective.  The beauty of the relationship God invites us into is that He is willing to entertain our ideas, talk with us, listen to us, and speak to us.  It’s not like a human conversation, of course, but over time spent in the Bible and in prayer, we begin to absorb His unspoiled interpretive framework.  He is the final filter, the ultimate level-checking level.   He straightens me out.

Who, or what, is your final filter?

3 thoughts on “Filter-checking Filter

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  1. Here’s a filter checking question. Why is communicating with God “not like a human conversation?” Maybe it can be. God has communicated with man “as a man speaks with his friend.” So why not think that can happen with anybody at anytime? Exodus 33:11 says that God actually spoke to Moses “face to face.” Moses didn’t see God’s face, but I think he heard Him clearly and he knew that God’s presence was before him. “Entertaining our ideas, talking to us, listening to us and speaking to us” sounds like a human conversation to me! 🙂 Love the blog!

    1. I agree with you that our interactions with God offer the same connections as do our human conversations. Good point. Maybe it’s a question of method. Your question got me thinking about how our communication with God differs from conversations between two people. I realize that I don’t “hear” audible words from God, but notice impressions, ideas and thoughts that aren’t mine, and sensations of peace or of being unsettled by something. I “hear” God’s heart and his character, and I know God’s heart and his character from spending a lot of time in the Bible – words that people wrote to other people but that somehow communicate the truth of the heart and character of God. Makes my head spin. In contrast, humans speak intelligible words that sometimes reveal our hearts and our characters, but sometimes, perhaps often, our intelligible words are intended to confuse and deceive.

      1. That’s true. I really appreciate knowing that when I am communicating with God, at least One of us is always truthful, genuine, perfectly loving, and having no hidden, selfish motives. What a place of rest and peace it is with Him. Even when He conveys a difficult truth to us, convicting us or exhorting us, there is no condemnation and a clear feeling of His wanting to help us. Keep blogging…. 🙂

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