My brother and I grew up watching Star Trek. I was no “Trekkie”, but I guess I saw every episode at least once. When Star Trek: The Next Generation came out I watched it too, but I just felt it lacked something of the original. I found an early episode of the original show recently on television, and had my kids sit down to watch it with me. I was excited to share this childhood memory with them. We lasted five minutes. It just wasn’t like I remembered it at all. It was all corny and cheesy… what was high tech then is laughable now.
Still, I remember Captain Kirk being overly passionate about his intergalactic missions, and I remember Mr. Spock being completely unemotional and logical about everything. It was an interesting pairing. Captain Kirk would rush in where angels feared treading if it meant he could complete his mission, while Mr. Spock insisted that each action must fit into his logical conclusions. They were like two sides of a coin, each different from the other, but each a necessary part of the story.
As each of my kids passed through first grade, they were all, in turn, taught about patterns.
Red, blue, red, blue….
Circle, circle, square. Circle, circle, square.
They were being taught to recognize order and form logical conclusions based on prior information. We like to do that. We like for things to fit into logical patterns. We teach our kids to color inside the lines and to think inside the box. I remember one of my kids, as a preschooler, wanted to be a dump truck. He didn’t want to drive one. He wanted to be one. Completely illogical. And I told him so. (Mr. Spock would have been proud.) Shame on me. He would have eventually figured that out, but I put an end to his imaginings on the subject.
When Matthew went to seminary we spent three years wading in deep theological waters. It was exhausting. I say we, because when your husband goes through seminary, you get to tag along for the ride.
Our early bible teachings were challenged. Some we held onto, some we replaced with others that seemed more… logical. By the time he received his degree, we had both pretty well settled on our theological mindset. We put God in His proper box. It was all neat and nice. We had very few loose ends, and everything was pretty clear for us. Seminary does that. But seminary should never be the end, rather it should just be the jumping off place for knowing and understanding who God is.
Our pastor recently spoke about who Jesus is. He talked about miracles and how Jesus did illogical things for completely logical reasons. He talked about how we like patterns and predictability. He talked about how even in Jesus’ day that there were those who tried to figure out how He performed the miracles of healing. They saw how He touched people with His hands and they were healed. So they surmised the power to heal must be in His hands. (Patterns) So when the guy brought his blind friend to Jesus to be healed, he told Jesus how to do it. Imagine that! He told Jesus to touch him. He had Jesus in a box. But Jesus doesn’t like boxes, so He busted out and healed the guy with spit and dirt. What’s logical about spitting on someone?
If everything we believe about God is required to find it’s logical place in our brains before it makes it to our hearts, then God will only be as big as our minds. I didn’t say that. My pastor did. But I liked it. The bible clearly states that God’s ways are not our ways, His thoughts are not ours.
I’m tired of squeezing God into this box I’ve made for him. I’m betting He’s tired of getting squeezed. So this is a new thing for me. I’m not throwing off all that I believe about who God is, and who I am in the mix. I think I have a lot of that right. I’m just telling Him that I am open. My arms are open, my eyes are open, and my heart is open. I am ready to let God be God in whatever way He chooses. He can touch, spit or be a dump truck. I’m throwing away His box, and I’m expecting big God-sized things.