Grabbing a bite in ATL before heading home and 2 guys at neighboring tables, whom I will refer to as Ray Romano’s brother and Wolverine’s father, start discussing politics. I am quite annoyed.
I’m thinking “Ugh, Professor Romano is an expert on everything and full of useless knowledge and Pastor Wolverine is about to brag about being in a Third Day tribute band.” They are so loud that I’m ready to say as much on the way out. I’ve been in a psychoanalytic training seminar all weekend studying how fundamentalism damages and stunts us cognitively, developmentally, spiritually, emotionally, hell, how it maims us comprehensively, and I’m really not wanting to hear this shit. I’ve already had enough for one lifetime. Then I am horrified as the topic turns to the Big Bang and God. I can’t get away fast enough.
Well, as it turns out, this actually was a discussion between a scientist and a theologian(and musician, I’m 3 for 3 in my observations so far. Must’ve been the soul patch) that seemingly only had either pizza, beer, or proximity in common. Then the theologian asks, “Is there room for God in the Big Bang Theory?” I’m waiting for the inevitable conflict.
But then the scientist responds “I don’t see why not. God, by definition, is mysterious.” The dialogue from there was peaceful and respectful. They found common ground in Mystery. That is more than many scientists experience on a given work day or many congregations experience on a given Sunday where common ground is sometimes only as deep as shared tradition, opinion, belief, stance, or doctrine. But these guys were discussing their direct experiences, through their respective lenses, of the unknowable Mystery that predates and drives both of their questioning. They weren’t debating, denouncing, or upholding Creationism but rather actively participating in Creation through creative dialogue full of reverence for Life and Mystery. They had church. I experienced the Spirit. God was there, in Ray’s brother’s expansive knowledge and humility, in Wolverine Senior’s limited beliefs and infinite curiosity, and in my hunger, irritability, and transformed negativity.
My feedback on the way out was “What a beautifully creative dialogue you guys are having. These conversations are usually destructive, divisive, polarizing. This brings me hope.”
You see, the theologian was authentically curious about the Big Bang, not starting a fight, and the scientist was authentically open to Truth. Neither was possessed by their paradigm because they were transfixed by Mystery. Both knew the power of knowing and the power of not knowing. They had heard the exhortations of the Psalmists known as .38 Special to “hold on loosely, but don’t let go.” No one felt the need to convert anyone or challenge anyone to a duel at the sports bar. After all, that’s what politics is for.