18 March, 2017

Location: Breakthrough

Welcome to my stream of consciousness. Sometimes it feels like "The River Wild," and other times it's an inner tube ride down a lazy river. I just want to say how grateful i am you have agreed to come along with me, my brothers and sisters in Christ. I'm a creative person, and creativity to me is active participation in the Creation. While i've lamented the lack of care some traditions show toward stewardship, i have to admit my own shortcomings.

Estranged from the God of my childhood, i continually engaged in learning, but the stream of inspiration slowed to a mere trickle.

"God on His thirsty Zion's hill some mercy drops has thrown," says an old shape note hymn. Even when i could not accept the theological paradigm i was raised with, i remained open to encountering it in the context of early American four-part music. One thing i enjoy about the shapenote tradition, wherein the notes are represented with four geometric shapes, is that a new leader stands for each song, making its organization a democratic one, and singers are free to choose any part regardless of gender. This to me is a hallmark of modern social structure, yet it is evident in a tradition dating back to 18th century New England.

I've been reluctant to embrace faith because i thought it forced me to choose between belief and science. Darwin's theory of Evolution was greeted with hostility where i came from, and as a child i was taught to censor phrases like "millions of years" from natural history texts.

Faith has been skeptical of science for some time, and science it seems returns the favor. Italian polymath Giordano Bruno, a "Dominican friar, philosopher, mathematician, poet, and cosmological theorist" was in 1593 tried and burned at the stake for heresy. Among other things, Bruno espoused pantheism while denying core Catholic doctrines such as the Divinity of Christ, transubstantiation, and eternal damnation. (The excellent 2014 documentary series "Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey" profiles Bruno among others who were early adopters of a more modern perspective.) It sucks to feel unappreciated - and it's even worse to be executed for your beliefs, whether or not they later prevail. It's a cold and broken Hallelujah.

Today, science holds the floor. But religious traditions are still killing people. In both Islamic and Christian contexts, atrocities are still being committed against homosexuals. U.S.-based pastors like Scott Lively and Steven Anderson fan flames of anti-gay sentiment in Africa with ideas like "homosexuals should be stoned to death," while Daesh spreads across the Levant like a plague and countries like Saudi Arabia and Iran remain unsafe for LGBT people to claim their identities openly. Even in the United States, LGBT individuals have a higher suicide rate than the general population.

Reclaiming my Christian identity and at long last coming out to my brother, whose response i feared, were a necessity to me because i believe honesty is paramount. I believe my orientation is one of many gifts from God, and the only choice in the matter was whether to finally break out of the closet. Having the courage of my convictions allowed me to confront years of anxiety, and after a frank and open phone conversation i actively look forward to our next one. I feel as though a creative block has been removed, and i see light at the end of the nicotine-addiction tunnel.

I for many years denied the existence of Spirit, but God sent me a partner who restored my soul and nurtured my body. Now mind, body and spirit are in harmony for me and creative insight flows freely again. I'm working on a new format for this blog, one that mixes symbolic communication, wordplay, neuroscience, intersecting narrative, behavioral science, philosophy, analogy, poetry - you name it - a veritable smorgasbord (#CharlottesWeb) of concepts in conversation across cultural context. So many ideas are swirling around in my head that it will take a bit to sketch out a plan of attack. Creativity is playtime, but formatting and organizing will help me structure creative leisure. Take a minute to look around, see a sight, hear a sound. i'll be #Bach soon.