Sunday, December 09, 2012


Back in the day, when I was growing up, Crusaders produced yearly posters. These posters consisted of a bible verse with an illustrative image. The one I remember most vividly quoted 1 Samuel 16; "Man looks at the outward appearance but God looks at the heart." The image to accompany this verse was a hippopotamus. Presumably because this is an image of ugliness.

For reasons lost in the midst of time (and probably best left there) this became in family-lore "Man looks at the outward appearance but God looks at the hippo..." Now this silliness serves a purpose in that it makes the verse very memorable to me.

Then, when I (kinda) grew up I went to medical school and learnt anatomy. I learnt that there is a part of the brain (well, technically 2 of them) called the hippocampus. Now the hippocampus is part of the limbic system. It is somewhat questionable that the seat of the aphoristic human heart has any anatomical location but if it does, then it is the limbic system for this is the part of the brain responsible for emotions and instincts. So it turns out, worryingly that I was right all along, man does indeed look at the outward appearance and God looks at the hippo...(campus).

All of this extreme silliness is indeed going somewhere. Martin Luther King said that he dreamt of a world in which a child was judged not on the colour of their skin but on the content of their character. And whilst, in many aspects of life, racism itself is not tolerated, different kinds of superficiality still prevail. God however is much more concerned about what goes on in the heart (or limbic system if you prefer). In Matthew 23 Jesus expounds on this inside-out holiness. Get the heart right and the rest of life will follow.


1 comment:

Ian said...

Loved it

A River horse exterior vs Cerebal Interior (Sea horse shaped) juxtaposition neuro-scientifically illustrating a key piece of Old Testament theology :-)

PS Blogged a plea for Crusader Motto Cards in response