'Rabbit's clever," said Pooh thoughtfully. 'Yes/said Piglet, 'Rabbit's clever.'
'And he has Brain."Yes,'said Piglet, 'Rabbit has Brain.
There was a long silence.
' I suppose,'said Pooh, 'that that's why he never understands anything.'
AA Milne. Winnie-the-Pooh
It’s not only characters in children's literature that have questioned whether intelligence automatically brings understanding, the brainiest of people can agree.
'Any fool can know. The point is to understand,’ said Albert Einstein.
The Concise Oxford Dictionary defines understanding as: 'To perceive the meaning of; to perceive the significance of; to be sympathetically aware of the character or nature of... to know how to deal with.'
Understanding involves perceiving and engaging, not standing in judgement over. As John Ruskin once wrote, 'The first test of a truly great man is his humility. By humility I don't mean doubt of his powers or hesitation in speaking his opinion, but merely an understanding of the relationship of what he can say and what he can do.'
At first sight the crucifixion of Jesus Christ seems ridiculous; the Son of God crucified!? It is counter intuitive. St Paul admits this is so -
'we preach Christ crucified ... people think it is foolish.' But, he continues, 'God has chosen what the world calls foolish to shame the wise. He has chosen what the world calls weak to shame what is strong.'
The gist of a 2012 NewYorker article headed 'Why Smart People are Stupid' was that the more intelligent we think we are, the more likely we are to jump to conclusions rather than listening and really understanding.
Holy Week and Easter gives us all the opportunity to really listen and understand what God has done for all of us in Jesus Christ - full details of our Easter programme are on page five.
My prayer is that this Easter we will realise that, again to quote St Paul, 'God's foolishness is wiser than human wisdom, and God's weakness is stronger than human strength.