Thinking for Myself

Yeonmi Park was brought up in North Korea, escaped to China, and now lives in South Korea.

Arriving in South Korea she was asked her favourite colour:

‘In North Korea … most of the time there is only one correct answer to each question… I thought hard to come up with the right answer. I had never been taught to use the ‘critical’ thinking part of my brain…’

‘…In South Korea, I learned to hate the question ‘What do you think?’ Who cared what I thought? It took me a long time to start thinking for myself and to understand why my own opinions mattered’

It is so much easier when there is only one right answer. You don’t have to think or have an opinion.

Brian Keenan was brought up as a working class protestant through troubled times in Belfast. Coming to terms with politics and religion in Northern Ireland he says:

‘We discover our own answers if we have the will to do so; and if we are not afraid of the confrontation with ourselves that such a journey might entail.’

Our opinions do matter. Forming opinions isn’t always an easy journey.

St Paul says: ‘The body is a unit, though it is made of many parts; and though its parts are many, they form one body.’

In context this is about people bringing their spiritual gifts together for the benefit of the church.

The principle is much bigger. It is about appreciating and benefiting from differences. We see it in hospitals, care homes, schools and churches – anywhere people come together and pool their human resources for a common purpose.

In particular our differences in opinion should come together for the benefit of those around us. They should be recognised, encouraged, and, at times, celebrated!

In Order to Live by Yeonmi Park

An Evil Cradling by Brian Keenan. He was in the news when he was taken hostage in Beirut with John McCarthy and Terry Waite in 1986.

1 Corinthians 12:12

…Photograph is grandchildren Hannah and Luca

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