David Burchett Christian Blog and Commentary

It's All In The Mind?

Warning: The following post may (or, sadly, may not) contain humor. This blog was produced in a program where irony and satire are processed. May contain sarcasm fragments. If you are allergic to humor or attempts at humor please avoid this product. 

A potentially incendiary topic came up again as I rummaged through the Healthy Living section of the Dallas Morning News. I had ventured onto the thin ice of male and female brain differences in an earlier post. Having survived that article I am demonstrating the lack of male brain development by going there again. My bride and her female co-conspirators often forward e-mails that point out the unique qualities of men. For example…

Question: What is the difference between men and government bonds?
Answer: Government bonds will mature.

My only defense is that the grey matter of the average male truly is different. Some of the key findings include that, on average, men's brains are about 10 percent larger than their female counterparts. Why? Most scientists believe that because the male body is generally larger, their brains have to be bigger to compensate for the extra mass. However, women have just as many brain cells but those cells are packed into a tighter space.

That clears up some of the issues. Women’s brain cells have less room to wander off and do stupid stuff. That is a clear advantage for the feminine mind.

During the aging process, men's brains tend to shrink faster than women's.

When the brain shrinks it is obvious that some things need to go. Because I cannot bear to delete the roster of the 1961 Cincinnati Reds baseball team I have to sacrifice other brain data. My brain utility usually deletes all records of things I have said to Joni. I am pretty sure she is making up stuff when she points out that I promised I would do a certain task. But I don’t know because that cache has been cleared and I have no defense. I do, however, retain countless lines from the Bullwinkle cartoon series.

“Hey Rocky, watch me pull a rabbit out of a hat!”
“But that trick never works!”
“This time for sure!”

Depending on whose research you're quoting, men say anywhere from 1,000 to 10,000 fewer words a day than women do. This so-called word gap is often associated with smaller frontal and temporal lobes in men, the brain's center for language. One study showed that women average about 20,000 words per day while men come in at about 7,000.

Even these numbers do not truly represent the disparity in the vocabulary between men and women. Using myself as the lab rat, I calculated that of my 7,000 uttered words nearly 5,000 of them were baseball and football fantasy league words, lyrics to classic rock and roll songs, meaningless words from Monty Python skits, and lines from movies like Airplane and Caddy Shack. Another 1900 plus entries were work related. So I calculate that I enter the verbal fray with my bride armed with about 67 usable words. Again, not my fault. You try and function with a smaller frontal and temporal lobe. Do you think this is easy?

A Cambridge University study in 1-year-olds found that boys preferred watching films of cars (i.e., mechanical systems) and girls preferred films of people's faces.

It is merely normal brain development for that one–year-old to buy a two seat convertible forty-nine years later. Finally, research that makes sense in the real world.

According to a Harvard study, men's testosterone levels drop when they're holding a baby. Even cradling a doll can decrease the amount of the hormone linked with virility.

Other proven ways to lower testosterone levels are shopping with your wife at Pottery Barn or watching Lifetime Channel.

Testosterone is part of the reason our brains work very differently as another recent study revealed. Girls are not exposed to the testosterone surge in utero that shrinks the neurological centers for communication, observation and processing of emotion in boys, so girls are better equipped from birth to develop skills that use those parts of the brain.

See…we can’t help it that the testosterone tsunami shrinks our communication, observation and processing skills. Those guttural grunts are actually quite articulate given the handicaps we must overcome every single day!

Hugging, especially for women, releases neurochemicals that can increase trust in the hugger. After a hug lasting at least 20 seconds, the brain produces oxytocin that turns on the trust response and dulls more critical judgment.

Interesting. Joni, if you are reading this please skip to the next item. Thank you.

I think I learned something important here. When I hug my wife she often gives me the dismissive pat after 10 seconds or so. I thought she was just being a bit impatient. Now I realize that she was  protecting her critical judgment. I will hold the embrace in the future to rev up that trust response and dull her critical judgment. How sad I am just learning this after 31 years.

And what is the value of all of this research in real life? It is fun. I think it is helpful to realize and value the general differences in the minds of men and women. But for me the application about how our minds are wired is gender neutral. There are many references to the mind in the New Testament Scriptures.

Romans 8:5–7  Those who are dominated by the sinful nature think about sinful things, but those who are controlled by the Holy Spirit think about things that please the Spirit. If your sinful nature controls your mind, there is death. But if the Holy Spirit controls your mind, there is life and peace. For the sinful nature is always hostile to God. It never did obey God's laws, and it never will.  NLT

Romans 12:2  Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.  Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.  NIV

Ephesians 4:23–24 …to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.  NIV

Phillipians 4:7  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.  NIV

Colossians 3:2  Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.  NIV

I Peter 1:13  Therefore, prepare your minds for action; be self-controlled; set your hope fully on the grace to be given you when Jesus Christ is revealed. NIV

And the grand finale comes from the mind of Jesus.

Matthew 22:36–38  Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?" Jesus replied: " 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment.  NIV

I am fascinated by the difference in the minds of men and women. But I am challenged by the differences in the minds of those who seek the mind of Christ and those who do not. I want my mind to be different. Like Jesus. Men and women may be wired differently at the factory but we share one great common denominator. We are challenged to love our Lord with all of our heart and soul and mind. That little exercise should help bridge the other differences nicely.

Dave Burchett is an Emmy Award winning television sports director, author, and Christian speaker. He is the author of When Bad Christians Happen to Good People and Bring'em Back Alive: A Healing Plan for those Wounded by the Church. You can reply by linking through daveburchett.com.

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