The Church Lady, a Saturday Night Live character that Dana Carvey portrayed, caricatures a judgmental Christian hosting a talk show. One of the Church Lady’s catchphrases was something like, “Mr. Mouth is moving but Mr. Brain doesn’t quite know what it’s saying.”
The Church Lady epitomizes what’s called “the Dunning-Kruger
effect.” Named after the findings of a series of experiments by social
psychologists David Dunning and Justin Kruger, this effect suggests
that the greater a person’s incompetence, the more likely it is that
they will dramatically overestimate their performance and be unable
to recognize the skills of others. Because no one excels at everything,
this effect can equally apply to a loudmouthed uncle at a family
reunion or a surgeon who robustly sings off-key.
Why does Jesus thank God for hiding truths from the wise? Is he
implying that many who consider themselves intelligent are signifi-
cantly misjudging their understanding of God and God’s priorities?
While Jesus warns us about one form of self-delusion, we should
also use caution to avoid impostor syndrome—that tendency of
competent people to underestimate their own abilities. In almost
every significant position I start, I experience the nagging fear of
someone standing up, dramatically pointing at me, and yelling
Research finds that the more we learn, the more we can honestly
evaluate our own abilities. Continued learning is valuable in all areas
of life, particularly our spirituality. A vibrant faith will continue to
be curious and want to grow.
When did you become aware of how much you didn’t know? What caused that recognition? In what other areas do you need to reevaluate your abilities?
Please help me avoid the pitfalls of self-deception, God, so that I may better understand my true strengths and weaknesses. Amen.