Thoughts and Words

For who has knowledge of the mind of the Lord, so as to be his teacher? But we have the mind of Christ.

1Co 2:16

I have thought a lot about thinking and wording lately. Let me first give you some basics about my personality.

I am an intuitive thinker. Much of my thinking is not informed by rational thought ruminating on the sensory world we live in. My triggers lay within.

Some would say that, according to the findings of Iain McGilchrist, I am more of a right hemisphere thinker. This is true, and I have to work consciously on balancing both hemispheres to the best of my abilities.

For those not familiar with The Master and His Emissary by Iain McGilchrist: he is saying that roughly speaking the right hemisphere is about making sense of the unknown and holistic thinking, while the left concentrates on the known and detail oriented thinking based on a model worldview.

So, if I have a thought, it tends to be holistic, imaginative, grandiose, frightening and enticing at the same time, at times somewhat fitting to what is, yet strangely not at the same time. It certainly is confusing and chaotic.

This is what I have come to realize when I try to bring words to my thoughts:

To speak is the enemy of thinking
Language a cage for freedom
It frames the thought within the known
And loses its originality.

But then again, what is it worth to think and not to share? What good is thought if not applied to our worldview and our lives to bring forth and encourage change? Thus:

Not to speak is the enemy of thinking
Language a frame for ingenuity
It challenges the known with thought
Unleashes its power.

This both – and is typical for the right hemisphere, where the left screams for a solution in either – or.

We can only imagine how this is for God. We all agree that God is so much more than we can comprehend. And still, we are made in his image. We can deduct, very carefully, some principles without falling into the trap of assigning God mere human characteristics.

The word is so much more than the bible, logos so much more than the written word. We know that from John chapter one.

God wants to reach us with his thoughts, communicate with us, but we are limited in our understanding. Therefore, he chooses different tools to reach us on different levels. One of the most powerful tools is story-telling.

Stories live at the intersection of intuitive thought and language. We have been imprinted with and have participated in archetypical stories for generations upon generations, even before we consciously took notice.

Those stories are like the operating system our sense making runs on. We recognize their patterns without words in other stories and in real life happenings intuitively, subconsciously, almost instinctively. Can we put words to them? Do we have to?

As with all operating systems, there are upgrades, but the architecture stays the same, the basics remain. New drivers to make sense of the surroundings, new internal routines, an updated worldview with deeper understanding to cope with more complex problems, at the cost of losing some basic functions we deem depreciated.

With each new update of our worldview, we interpret those basic stories differently. We understand different sides of the biblical narrative, for example, and a new world is opened for us. Another channel for God to communicate, another facet of God to grasp. Like an onion, he reveals himself by leading us gently through this growth process. The old interpretations, maybe altered a bit, are still valuable and applicable to the old problems, but there also are new problems to solve.

The drivers for this growth process he uses are life circumstances and our instinctual reaction towards them, and since we have become able to do so, our intrinsic values to both hold us in place and have us go forward.

It is not for long that we have matured enough to develop morals, ethics, individuality, and the urge for self-actualization and transcendence. This allows us to have an ever growing part in our development as human and humankind.

God tells us that he first spoke through nature. That is those life circumstances and instinctual reactions I am speaking of. Then he started to speak through other human beings, like prophets. In the last days of the old covenant, he spoke through his son, and later through the written word and his anointed ones.

Today, he wants to speak through every person that has been filled by his Spirit. And the bible tells us that he poured his Spirit on all flesh.

We are in a unique situation at the moment. I write this during the CoViD-19 lockdown period in 2020. God is speaking through this slowdown of everything. He is speaking concepts that shake our worldview and when put into words, live in this liminal space of understanding, in the fringes of our abilities to comprehend.

He is putting concepts in the minds of those open to receive them, or as the bible puts it, have ears to hear. Those concepts are overwhelming as they go past all that we can conceive with our logic, our worldview, our doctrine, our imprint, our belief system, our faith.

Well, probably not our faith. Faith for me is trusting the source. Trusting the source, I can let go of all that I believe. If I can’t, I just might lack trust. And granted, I might lack trust in the receiver, myself, as I know of my proneness to misunderstanding and legalistic thinking as well as my entanglement with other systems of thought.

But then again, not trusting myself is only a subset of lack of trust in God. He will never overrule my free will, but have his way with me if I trust him. This is an upward spiral, as a little trust is met with a bigger picture that instills trust to receive a yet bigger picture and so forth. We can always lean on his faith.

We all have talents and callings. God has done that so we need each other. A visionary cannot expect everybody to function in the same way. Not everybody is a prophet, as Paul puts it.

We need the prophets and the prophetic teachers. They work more or less at the fringes of the two hemispheres, with maybe a right leaning. We can see this in Antioch, where the prophets and teachers were assembled together and the next phase of Christianity was born. It was not the apostles that birthed it, even though through the apostles the prophets and the teachers were set free to set free new apostles.

The apostles are the action piece. Somebody has to take the concepts that have been closely formed into words and turn them into action. Another breed of teachers will help form the doctrine to explain the new found worldview, and pastors will lead people into that worldview. It is their calling to penetrate culture and solidify the beliefs of people. And when the time has come, prophets and teachers will start dreaming again.

This is such a time of dreaming. It will take its time for the dreams to be put in words, and even more time for the dreams to put in words that are actionable. But this is the time.

Old worldviews die hard. It is only possible with trust.