More Than We Need to Know – Dr Lachlan Dunjey

Sometimes the detail is more than enough


from Luke’s Journal 2018 | Hot Topics #1 | Vol. 23 No. 3

Sometimes the detail is too much to comprehend and leaves us paralysed. Then we must turn to God in agony of spirit and weep with Jesus over Jerusalem, weep with Jesus in Gethsemane. And look forward to that day when King Jesus puts all things right.

Yes, we need to know about the suffering church. We needed to know about the 21 Coptic Christians beheaded on the beach in Libya with their blood flowing into the Mediterranean and the warning to the Nations of the Cross issued at the time.

Yes, we needed information about the Arabic letter “n” for Nazarene being daubed on the doors of the Christians being killed and driven out of Syrian and Iraqi towns and the systematic slaughter of the Yazidis.

“We are not given enough information on such in our churches and we need to be earnest in prayer together for the suffering church”.

Yes, we needed to know such horrors but sometimes it is too much for some people.

Yes, there were the girls who refused to convert to Islam and who were torched in their cages but sometimes it is enough to say “other unspeakable horrors that I am not going to tell you about” and call people to agonising prayer.

We needed to know about the “Safe-Schools program” and we needed to know enough detail for Christians and the general public to wake up and react.

Too little, too late. By and large our churches failed and it was left to laity and lay organisations with inadequate backing by the churches – even when special meetings were called to inform and pray.

How much do we need to know?
How much is enough?

I love the illustration that was given to Corrie ten Boom as a child by her father: he would give her the train ticket when it was time to board the train and not before. In the actual confrontation with evil, God will provide and give grace when the time is needed. Which martyr was it, about to be burnt at the stake, who said, “Tonight I will feast in heaven”?

The devil is in the detail.

There will be limits for all of us in what can be absorbed and acted upon.

Surely it is enough in the fictional sex scene – and this only if it is essential to the story and not just gratuitous sex for the sake of selling the book – to describe the scene as “a threesome with a display of male lust at its worst” rather than a detailed description. Such images destroy purity and can lock in to neural pathways, sexual thought and behaviour with life-long consequences, demeaning of sex as God gave it, and of the wonder of marriage.

For such descriptions to be included in a reading list in a Christian school represents a ‘failure to protect’ – the condemnation of the church by the Royal Commission – and a ‘leading of little ones into sin’, the condemnation by Jesus (Matt 18:6). To justify such on the grounds of artistic merit or the real world or preparation for exams is wide of the mark.

What, then, are some of the factors that determine our ability to know the detail?

  • Clearly age – as with Corrie’s train ticket.
  • Maturity of mind and neural pathways – the brain seems to be particularly susceptible to damage up till around 25.
  • Emotional maturity depending on life’s experiences, especially emotional and physical trauma.
  • Individual personality and ability to absorb such detail without damage not to be classed in any way as inferior. There are some that cannot absorb the horror of The Passion of Christ but who love our Lord Jesus and are devoted to Him and for whom the information that Jesus walked the Calvary Road and died for my sin is enough to ensure life-long service and devotion.
  • Other individual vulnerabilities such as a tendency to OCD with obsessive ruminating thought processes such as can occur with depressive illness – never to be labelled as ‘weakness’. People with such problems are wonderful and valiant Christians.
  • It may be a surprise to some that such “needing to know” can vary with advancing years and, once again, ageing neural pathways and experiences of life stresses. The Biblical principle of “whatsoever be of good report” is enough for such people to continue their devotion to their Lord and Saviour. Even so, Lord Jesus, come quickly.

Enough! It is Easter Monday. Jesus is alive. Oh, that we did not need to be discussing such things and that we could be feasting on the beach with Jesus cooking fish.

Dr Lachlan Dunjey
Dr Lachlan Dunjey was talked into doing medicine by his older brother who sold his house and went through medicine at the same time. He and his wife, Lizzie, built their house and surgery in 1968. They have worshipped at Morley Baptist Church for 50 years. Lachlan was President of Baptist Churches in WA in 1989/90. He is still involved in ethical and moral issues that challenge both medicine and our nation as per these websites:

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