Life today is completely different and yet, it is the same. I have always been amazed that I am still me. My body has changed, my thinking has changed and developed, my level of experience, knowledge, wisdom, day to day common sense, all of these have grown and developed, but the ‘me’ inside all of that, is still me. I wonder if that is the soul. We are such complex beings, no wonder it takes a lifetime to understand ourselves; even then many don’t bother. I have always wondered how it all worked theologically, body, mind, soul, spirit… Is the soul the same thing as the spirit? or is the soul me, and the spirit God. I have always wanted someone to tell me, give me the neat answer so I could stop wondering.
We like things neatly packaged, labelled, sewn up, put away and figure out, but it doesn’t work that way. That’s Greek thinking for a rational age. I prefer Hebrew thinking, which is more philosophical and mytho-poetic, Hebrew thinking encourages questions and isn’t too caught up with the answers, because they put an end the interesting dialogue.
I like Kent Dobson’s explanation of soul, not really an explanation, more of a conversation. He says metaphor is the language of the soul and that understanding soul is like trying to understand a work of art. He may have been quoting someone else on his podcast, but that is not quite as important to me as the content of what was said. I liked the discussion and somewhere along the way as I listened to the series of talks, it all started to make more sense. I was able to let go of the labels and the neat packaging and allow my soul to be me, or to remain a mystery, to continue the wonder.
That may not make sense to anyone else, but in that moment, listening to a Kent Dobson podcast, I knew that there was no neat answer, and to quote Rob Bell ‘it’s all Tov’, it’s good; it’s messy and alive, a little scary even.
Which reminds me of a scene from the book ‘The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe’ by C S Lewis, where one of the Pevensey children ask the beavers if Aslan is safe when they find out he’s a lion and not a man.
The beavers say: “Safe” said Mr Beaver…”Who said anything about safe? ‘Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good. He’s the King, I tell you.”
Wonder is a highly under rated aspect of human nature and our tendency to want the answers can kill it, or at the very least stop it in it’s tracks. The wonder we feel when we watch the sea during a storm, the beauty of a sunset, the birth of a child, catching a glimpse of the sky on a starry night, all these bring a sense of awe and wonder. There are some questions we may never have the answers to and that’s ok.
We all need a little mystery in our lives, so when we have a puzzling question that no one seems to know the answer to, we can allow the mystery to create a little wonder in our life.
Now when I feel the urge to want a neat ‘pat’ answer, it is a flashing light warning me that I’m about to lose my sense of wonder.
“Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 18:3
“Today you are you, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is youer than you!” Dr Seuss