Something dangerous comes with the turf I'm on. I have a passion for theological depth. I'm interested in the truth and that finds expression in my reading everything from biographies, brain science, philosophy, theology, atheism, people magazine... anything! On the other hand, I also have an intense interest in the summits of mystical insight, spiritual experience and passionate worship.
I wrote on this about a year ago
in relation to the Baal Shem Tov, an intellectual Jewish mystic. Is it at all possible to search and embrace the depths of truth while at the same time scaling the heights of the spiritual life? It's rare to witness. I mostly see either one or the other. Those who pursue intellectuality and knowledge usually scorn spiritual experience, holding that only that which is rational is valid. Then there are those who pursue spiritual experience and disdain intellectual depth. I realize this is a generalization, but generally I think it's a fair assessment.
I think we need both. Like in the arts. I love art. So once in a while I like to listen to music that is thoughtful, insightful, prophetic and challenging. But sometimes I just like listening to music that soothes. Sometimes I like art that says something that needs to be said, no matter how harsh and offensive. But other times I like art that doesn't say anything except how spectacularly beautiful this world is. The height and the depth!
I pastor a church that has experienced some pretty interesting things. What I've found is that once you say you are interested in that whole charismatic realm, the magnetic pull towards big-church success, conferences, huge money, glamour, competition, visions, revelations, prophecies, international speakers and worship leaders, the gigantic money-cow of worship music, and all-around silliness is almost too much to resist. Let's all admit: the charismatic is a magnet for the crazy. But so is the intellect a magnet for a dead rationalism that just makes you want to scream for fresh air!
I believe rational truth and passionate experience make a beautiful marriage. But divorce is on the rise. Tell me it ain't so!
The fine art photograph is the creation of my friend Jorgen Klausen
and is from his Metamorphosis series.