On Worldview and Mindset

I’m still reading NT Wright’s Big Book Volume 2, that is, Jesus and the Victory of God. If you’re up to it, you simply must get into this series of books. Amazing depth is available to you for a small price.

I am struck by how important the societal worldview is to how we think about almost anything.

For example, there are (at least) two worldviews prevalent in the United States today. In one worldview, the government is seen as the caretaker of the people. In the other, the people are seen as self-reliant.

In the study of Jesus, we must always be aware that he was living and participating in the worldview of his society in his day. He was not living in the timeless vein of a wormhole, removed from his culture. He was a first century Jew. (The scandal of particularity would be something good to talk about, one of these days.)

The problem is, when we open our Bibles, we want timeless truth, instruction for our lives. And it isn’t there in just that simple of a manner. We have work to do. There is great joy in that work, but it is still hard work.

So, we must take the worldview of Jesus’ society into account. But we must also consider his mindset. The mindset is kind of a local and personal variant of the worldview. And the mindset of Jesus was subversive to the Jewish worldview of his day, in some ways but not in all ways.

Mindset is hard to get at. You have to work backward from words and actions and forward from worldview. Not easy. And mindset is pretty much an individual attribute. Yours is different from mine in real and sometimes subtle ways. And you can’t have my mindset anyway. Get your own.

Very interesting stuff. A good way to think about the people around us as well as the people we read about in the Bible.

If we stop to consider worldview and mindset, we can avoid some of the anachronistic errors we hear perpetrated by preachers and teachers today. And it might even help us get along with one another just a little bit better.