If I Only Had a Brain

scarecrow b&w

“Show me a young conservative and I’ll show you someone with no heart. Show me an old liberal and I’ll show you someone with no brains.”

The quote above is often attributed to Winston Churchill. Turns out he probably didn’t ever say that. A similar phrase was first uttered by 19th-century statesman François Guizot.

Whatever the origin, it’s a quote I’ve often heard and pondered. As a conservative young adult, I took this phrase to believe (quite pridefully) that I had been brilliant enough to “get smart” at an early age.

But then a funny thing happened: As I’ve grown older (I’m now middle-aged), I’ve become much more liberal.

(Actually, neither side would probably want to claim me in my present state.)

I would like to think that my shift away from staunch conservatism marks personal growth and maturity. But perhaps it suggests that I have neither a heart nor a brain.

In hopes of the former, I loved this quote from Henri Nouwen’s In the Name of Jesus:

“Christian leaders cannot simply be persons who have well-informed opinions about the burning issues of our time. Their leadership must be rooted in the permanent, intimate relationship with the incarnate Word, Jesus, and they need to find there the source for their words, advice, and guidance…When we are securely rooted in personal intimacy with the source of life, it will be possible to remain flexible without being relativistic, convinced without being rigid, willing to confront without being offensive, gentle and forgiving without being soft, and true witnesses without being manipulative.”

That’s what I really want to be true in my life.

How have your views shifted as you’ve moved through the seasons of life? Have you become more convinced of things, or less? Where did you start? Where would you like to end up?

One thought on “If I Only Had a Brain

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