Heuristic bias – patterned ways

By Dave Henning / September 19, 2020

“We tend to think and act in patterned ways.  And that tendency to think the way we’ve always thought or do it the way we’ve always done it is called heuristic bias.  It is an incredibly complex cognitive process, but the end result is mindlessness.  . . .  And if we’re not careful, we pray without thinking, take Communion without thinking, and worship without thinking.”- Mark Batterson

As Mark Batterson continues Chapter 3 of Wild Goose Chase, he talks about the negative effects of hurry.  First, hurry kills all it touches – from compassion to creativity.  Furthermore, hurrying leaves no time for you to escape your routine to pursue Wild Goose chases.

In other words, ministry happens.  When you chase the Wild Goose, there’s no need to you to create opportunities to minister.  And escaping the routine allows room to improvise in any given situation.  Pastor Batterson adds:

“Spontaneity is an underappreciated dimension of spirituality.  In fact, spiritual maturity has lees to do with long-range visions that it does with moment-by moment sensitivity to the promptings of the Holy Spirit.  And it is our moment-by-moment sensitivity to the Holy Spirit that turns life into an everyday adventure.”

However, the author cautions, when we learn how and forget why, we start going through the motions with our Christian faith.  In Isaiah 29:13 (NLT) we read — “And so the Lord says, ‘These people say they are mine.  They honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me.  And their worship of me is nothing but man-made rules learned by rote.’ ”

Finally, Mark asserts, God desires that we worship Him rather than lip-sync using our left-brain memory.  In addition, the psalms exhort us no fewer than six times to sing a new song to the Lord.  Certainly, traditional hymns contain powerful, time-tested biblical truths.  But we must receive and proclaim with intent the truths we sing.

Today’s question: Where do you see evidence of heuristic bias, or patterned ways, in your life?  Please share.

Tomorrow’s blog: “The law of requisite variety”

About the author

Dave Henning

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