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Biblical Wisdom on the Neurons Lining Our Gut

In the dynamic relationship between love and knowledge, head and heart, the Scriptures paint a holistic picture of the human person. It's not only our minds that God redeems, but the whole person: head, heart, hands. Christ takes captive our minds but also our kardia, even what Paul calls our splagchna, our "inner parts" that are the seat of our "affections."

Contemporary science is starting to catch up to this ancient biblical wisdom about the human person. Scholars at UCLA and McMaster University have been conducting experiments that are shedding light on our "gut feelings." Their studies point to the way microbes in our stomachs affect the neural activity of the brain. "Your brain is not just another organ," they report. "It's … affected by what goes on in the rest of your body." In fact, Scientific American reports that there is "an often-overlooked network of neurons lining our guts that is so extensive some scientists have nicknamed it our 'second brain.'"

No wonder Jesus invites us to follow him by eating and drinking (John 6:53-58). Discipleship doesn't touch just our head or even just our heart; it reaches into our gut, our splagchna, our affections.

Editor's Note: For more info see also: http://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2013/11/18/244526773/gut-bacteria-might-guide-the-workings-of-our-minds. Or http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/gut-second-brain/."

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