I was reading recently about the role of objectivity and subjectivity in a book on architecture by Matthew Fredrick. Fredrick writes, "Objectivity is the province of the scientist, technician, logician and mathematician. Subjectivity is the milieu of the artist, musician, mystic, and free spirit."
He described this in simple terms as the difference between standing a hundred feet away from a tree and observing it, as opposed to sitting down next to it, leaning against the trunk and enjoying it's shade.
Then he said this, which kind of rocked me. "Citizens of modern culture are inclined to value the objective view--and hence it may tend to be your world view--but both modes of engagement are crucial to understanding and creating architecture."
I got to thinking about this concept in relation to faith.
For centuries, Christian theological reflection has been dominated by Objectivity. In the majority of churches across American, congregants are essentially trained to objectively argue the merits of the Christian faith, effectively and persuasively in order to "defend" the faith in the face of a "hostile" culture.
Ironically, while Christians have honed our argumentative skills with razor-like precision, the "hostile" culture that we set ourselves against is longing for something more.
I have come to believe that most people outside the Church crave real relationships, and fresh experiences of the Divine. They might be distrustful of the Church, but they find something compelling about Jesus.
As I write this, I think of the Apostle Nathaniel, who was sitting under a fig tree, praying and longing for God when he was called to become a follower of Christ (John 1). This was a guy who, when Jesus miraculously touches his life, responds with, "Teacher, you are the Son of God! You are the king of Israel!"
Nathaniel didn't come to Jesus because he lost an argument. He came to Jesus because he experienced him.
How are people experiencing Jesus through you? Have you become so caught up in the objectivity of your faith that you have neglected to share how your experience of Jesus has transformed your life?
May you seek ways to share your experiences of Jesus today and every day. May you grow deeper in your faith as you seek understanding both in knowledge and in wisdom. And may the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you now and always. Amen.