The Anomaly

Do not allow current religious tradition to mold you into its pattern of reasoning. Like an inspired artist, give attention to the detail of God’s desire to find expression in you.

Rom 12:2a MIR

We have learned to deal with this world, to explain it. This is necessary because we can, should, must interact with it.

We have trained our body to manipulate our environment, to make use of it. Manipulate in the very literal sense of manus and plere, to fill our hand.

We later learned to use tools and our manipulation became more powerful and more consequential.

We have a well-functioning model of the world that we can apply very well. And we have learned one thing: never change a running system.

It is the same with our faith. We have a model of the earth and the heavens that works and gives us explanations that are sufficient to live according to our model.

There are a few questions that we cannot answer. But we ignore them by pointing out that God’s thinking is so much higher than our thinking and that it is up to us to believe and not to know, as doubt is the opposite of faith.

We simply overlook other lurking questions and anomalies that do not fit our model.

Actually, we are often blind towards those anomalies.

We know how the world works. We know what the Bible means. We can move in this world. We can manipulate this world.

For us, growth means that we get better at what we already do, learn from others how the system works even more accurately, and do more of the same in a refined manner. Growth means investing faith to hide anomalies so there is no doubt. Growth means having answers instead of asking questions.

We try to do something to be righteous. We try to meet a pattern. We learn to argue a worldview. We live a poor, limited life.

A master had built a community that was wonderfully creative and lively, responsive and individual, vigorous and colorful.

He realized that he needed an emissary to do all of the nitty and gritty work. He also wanted to focus on his strengths, artistic expression, creativity, liveliness. But the size of the community made some administration necessary.

He deployed an emissary (in Greek: apostolos). This emissary was highly intelligent and organizationally great, but he didn’t know what all he didn’t know.

He soon thought he knew better than his master how community was built, and manipulated the others to ban the master. And since then he managed the community to death.

The emissary became the master, but only by position. His thinking didn’t change. And because he didn’t know what all he didn’t know, he suppressed every inspired artist who wanted to complement him.

The original master had to give up tasks, the emissary acted according to his abilities. Together they would have created and managed something wonderful. But it was an either / or style of thinking that led to death.

We humans do the same in our brains. The right hemisphere is the master, the left hemisphere the emissary.

Now it’s not that the hemispheres specialize in anything. It used to be assumed that creativity was on the right and logic on the left. Today we know that both hemispheres of the brain are involved in everything, but have a different worldview.

The left hemisphere focuses on manipulating and managing the world as we know it.

The right hemisphere focuses on the anomalies. Where does reality differ from our model? Where is there a bigger whole? It examines the unknown, the holistic.

The left hemisphere sees the details separately. People who have lost the right hemisphere from a stroke recognize a cluster of body parts as humans, no matter how they are arranged.

The right hemisphere focuses on the whole and relationships. If the left hemisphere is lost due to a stroke or trauma, only a person as a whole is recognized as a person, with every part in its natural place.

Of course, growth happens with better adaptation to the familiar model. But it also happens by adapting the model.

The right hemisphere recognizes the anomalies and chaos, while the left perceives the normal and the order and allows for manipulation, for action.

When the right hemisphere has developed a new model that depicts the world better, there is a big leap. The left hemisphere takes on the worldview of the right and fills it with the necessary details. This involves integration, embedding the previous worldview as a special case of the new one with the necessary adjustments.

Let’s take physics as an example. Newton gave us a picture of the world which has done us great service. The whole first industrial revolution is based on it.

Einstein and Bohr have exposed this picture for what it is: a special case of a much larger theory, quantum mechanics.

A simpler example: people learned to count and invented natural numbers. Soon they could add and subtract. But they realized that they couldn’t subtract a larger number from a smaller one, and they added negative numbers to the number model. The fractional calculation made further additions necessary, and so forth. It is important to see that the old models are always a subset of the new ones. ℕ ⊂ ℤ ⊂ ℚ ⊂ ℝ ⊂ ℂ

Back to our belief. Religion is when belief is fossilized, arrested, closed: a set of arguments for everything that fits into the world view, while any anomaly is dismissed. We know the examples well: Christian fundamentalism, Islamism, scientism, atheism, socialism, conservatism.

Statements such as the following are used in religion: But the Bible says; You have too little faith; when we get to heaven we will understand; I don’t ask myself this question because there are more important things.

God gave us two hemispheres and we narrow ourselves down to the left hemisphere. The right hemisphere was instrumental in the beginning to work out our belief system. Once it made sense, it was integrated into the left hemisphere.

But now we act as if everything has been done and accomplished. There is nothing new under the sun, and more importantly, we have understood what there is to understand. The only thing left to do is live things out (left hemisphere) until Jesus returns.

As I said: we live a poor, limited life.

If we listen to the prophetic artist, we become the inspired artist who uses his abilities to manipulate the world to express God’s desire.