The Human Brain and Christ’s Body

I have been in the States for over four weeks now. After bringing Debbi to Wheaton College, I had some ‘wait time’ before DOVE meetings this week. It was great to visitwith father my father, who lives with my brother Larry and his wife, in Florida (photo: with my father and brothers).

I’ve been reading books about cognition in order to prepare for a pending child development writing assignment. The human brain: fascinating; miraculous; mysterious. Even with all the advanced technology and high-powered microscopes, scientists have hardly begun to learn how our brains work. The concept that different brain centers are responsible for different functions (language, music, movement, logic, etc) is not as rigid as it was earlier believed to be. More than one part of the brain, for example, is involved in language. Utterance of a single word causes a unique pattern of activity to ripple all the way across the cortex. A single memory is distributed over an entire network of neurons.

Apart from the synchrony coming from teamwork among sections of the brain, what actually gives the brain its amazing power is networking. Every brain consists of a mass of cells called neurons  – perhaps a trillion or so — which form complex, interconnected networks. As our brains make new connections and re-forge old ones, we learn and adapt.  “Connections need to be intact so that the brain can function cohesively. . . The whole is clearly more than the sum of the parts” (Greenfield, Brain Story, BBC, 2000).

What’s the point? Being away from home (in a ‘foreign’ culture that is actually supposed to be home), I am thrown off balance by all the differences. There seems to be a completely different set of rules. What is considered ‘normal’ is different. Worldview is different. Definitions are different. It would be easy to despair: HOW DOES ALL THIS FIT TOGETHER?

But I gain courage from the brain story. We are created by God, meaning that our brains are created by God, meaning that He must place a very high value on networking and interconnectedness! He must want His body, the church, to function like that, too. And how much more, in the global village that is our 21st century reality. Dr. Todd, in his book “Fast Living” (a great read!) sets out a compelling vision of a “globally connected, globally influential, working together” church that will significantly change the world around us and bring an end to extreme poverty.

The brain and the body. Synergy and networking is what makes them work. With all our differences, we need each other – and the earth “WILL be filled with the glory of the Lord as the waters cover the sea!”

Diane

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About Omondis In Kenya

Ibrahim and Diane Omondi serve on the DOVE Christian Fellowship International Apostolic Council, giving oversight to the region of Africa. They have been ministering together in Kenya since 1984 and now oversee the work of more than 100 congregations in four nations. They also give leadership to the missions thrust of DOVE Africa which includes 14 Kenyan and Ugandan missionaries serving among unreached people groups in these nations. The Omondis direct Springs of Africa, a non-profit organization sponsoring micro-finance, community development and various education initiatives.
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3 Responses to The Human Brain and Christ’s Body

  1. Deborah Cressman says:

    Dear Diane,
    Thank you for the brain story. With my medical background I have always been amazed with the human body and many times God’s lessons for me are through my medical knowledge. This is definitely an analogy I will remember for His kingdom!

  2. Mike Jagger says:

    Diane,

    I have a few comments to complement your brain / Body of Christ analogy:

    For the Body of Christ, the interconnections that make us one occur at the level of the Head. “…We are to grow up in all aspects into Him, who is the head, even Christ,…” (Ephesians 4:15) The Head (Brain) takes in signals from all parts of the Body and sends out instructions to every part via a network that is too complex for us to ever understand. The Head coordinates the various functions of the Body, so that each part reaches the full potential for which it was created. Optimal function of the whole is dependent upon each part maintaining its connection with the Head. The Head can then maintain the unity of all the parts of the Body, although those parts are vastly different in their appearance and in their function. “He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.” (Colossians 1:17) If any part of what the Head has to offer is not accepted, the entire Body is incomplete in its functioning.

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