A Very Large World…

There is a danger in thinking across disciplines.  My thoughts range through various subjects from neuroscience to epistemology to art to physics to religion and hermeneutics.   Granted, my thinking is more limited in some areas, but my curiosity just keeps churning.  I am fascinated by the vastness of life, and the way each human being must live our their choices day by day by day, all the time working from the only vantage point they have–inside their own subjective experience.   I am not completely post-modern, but it is hard to argue around this basic post-modern mantra.

If spirituality is about thought-life, then the life of the mind is paramount.   And given that the life of the mind is connected intimately to the life of the body, hence, connected to the life of life,  then my curiosity about the processes of mind and body and spirit make sense.   Lately, brain science has captured my attention.  The physiology of thought and emotion, the limbic system vs. pre-frontal cortex functions, right brain vs. left brain, and the possibility of change due to the plasticity of the brain.   Neurology’s connection with spirituality calls up all kinds of questions.  But I keep thinking that while science offers so many nuanced descriptions of what happens when thought and emotion emerge, it speaks little of the why.

Which brings us back to God.

I haven’t been blogging much partially because of the busyness of schedules.  I just got back from Saskatoon, SK (I like the abbreviation of the province because I can’t spell Saskatchewan) where I did Leaving Ruin.  Next week I head to the Willow Creek Arts Conference to teach four classes on acting and directing (three of which are new material) and frankly, I am feeling a bit rusty because I’ve done so little artistic work of late.  Then there’s the work of the church: preaching, administrative realignment, adult education planning, worship planning (our instrumental worship leader is moving to California after next week), young adult ministry planning (a “missional” church consultant is in town this weekend for a weekend of meetings).  And of course, this is graduation time for Daniel (I’ll write more about that later) with family in and musicals and plans of various kinds.

But the other reason I’ve been loathe to blog is that my thoughts are ranging far and wide across these various fields.  Sometimes it’s hard to synthesize in ways that make much sense, and in those moments, I back off and wait.  The urge is growing in me to do some explicitly artistic, right brain work, and while I’m not sure what it will look like, the inner demand is unmistakable.

Where does the demand come from?  Is it a selfish urge?   In a year where everything is changing, is it the old man just wanting to return to a comfortable place?  Or is it some fundamental thing God has placed inside of me that may or may not have a functional, pragmatic end?  See, this is why I don’t want to blog.  My thoughts come to a place where I’m not comfortable throwing my deep musings to a larger world.  The tensions that are an inherent part of the work of a preaching minister are tensions I want to be frank about, but honestly, there seems to be less permission to be frank the longer I go.  Maybe I’m just a coward…entirely possible.  But it is hard to admit that I speak more from the place of questions than of answers, and that often I am not sure what my Boss is asking of me in any given moment.

Truth is, just now I long to leap into the vastness of creativity and art.  Maybe it’s just temptation, a wanting to pick up a life I’ve let go of.  But it feels more like truth than that.   Feels like part of God’s voice speaking to me, calling to me.   Maybe so, maybe not.  But for this moment, I walk with my heart in the fullness of life, right brain and left, praying that God will grant me grace to keep making beauty on both sides.

New vistas ever opening…

2 Replies to “A Very Large World…”

  1. Jeff,

    As a philomath, a creative, and at 54, I deeply relate to this post. You got me thinking about a grounding resource I keep coming back to when my own life yearns for creative outlet, but busy-ness keeps me from it. You’re probably very familiar with this…

    “I sit on my favorite rock, looking over the brook, to take time away from busy-ness, time to be. I’ve long since stopped feeling guilty about taking be-ing time; it’s something we all need for our spiritual health, and often we don’t take enough of it.”
    “Walking on Water” L’Engle, pg 12.

    I believe that when I deliberately am (choose to be) all that God has birthed and built me to be, He is glorified.


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