Friday, January 8, 2016

Thinking Inside AND Outside the Box

There is much talk today in Christendom about “thinking outside the box,” so much so it tends to eclipse sound reasoning (which begins by “thinking inside the box” well and thoroughly).  I would suggest that not only are these two ways of thinking compatible, they are the same thinking (one only stretched out further than the other).  In fact, outside-the-box thinking is dependent on inside-the-box thinking for its existence.  Though it is true that inside-the-box thinking will shrivel and die if not unleashed into outside-the-box thinking, outside-the-box thinking can only exist tethered to inside-the-box thinking.

Nancy Gorman, a friend of mine who dearly loves the Lord, wrote some profound and instructive words about food and cooking and walking in the Spirit.  Nancy said (among other things), that “I am getting a revelation about food…. There is so much more to this. There is a spiritual impartation of freedom in the kitchen that is possible. There is a healing that can take place, and a deliverance from fear of making mistakes in the kitchen...I think the workings of the right brain take more courage, like a leap of faith, so to speak. The left brain thinks more like, ‘This is what is right, and we must do it this way.’  As I was making pancakes this morning, thinking I would measure everything so that I could write it down to give to someone who asked me for my recipe, I realized I could not even make pancakes by measuring. I just go with the flow and I can't think about it because I would mess up. There is just no thinking in my cooking...Then I realized I WOULD HATE TO ENTER INTO THE KITCHEN if I had to open a book or think! I feel for those who hate to cook. I am wondering if they hate it because they approach in with their left brain. Maybe they just can't enjoy it because they think they have to do it a certain way. They worry about making mistakes if they just wing it. Hey I like that word… WING IT!” She continued, “It isn't bad to follow recipes and learn that way… NOT AT ALL!  But we are striving for freedom from the school house… into the childlike faith of flowing with HIM.”  She further continued and made even more excellent points, but for my purpose here, what I have quoted of her words above is sufficient.
Like an athlete who becomes so good at his or her craft that they can wing it (using outside-the-box thinking), but never completely untethered from fundamental mastery (inside-the-box thinking), so an excellent cook, though SEEMINGLY untethered from the fundamental recipe, is certainly tethered to a mastery of logic and principles hidden beneath the surface of apparency.  In like fashion to the master athlete and cook, the Law which is a schoolmaster to bring us to Christ—once inside Christ’s domain—loses its fundamental structure but never its fundamental foundation. The perfect law of love and liberty is the internalized and metamorphosized Law of Moses, not something wholly new.  It is simply the objective, prescriptive and external Law of God made into the subjective, inscriptive and internal rule of a new creature that can do nothing but obey the law of its nature.  Christ in man is light in darkness: the effect being a renewed conscience informed by the Word of God.  Christ in us is the Law mastered to the degree of subconscious adherence and subliminal influence; the gospel of Jesus Christ subsumes, not eliminates, the Law.

When we get to the point of mastery, like in the kitchen or in the arena of sport, or in anything actually, it is because we have learned our fundamental lessons well, and in BOTH sides of the brain!  Mastery is only accomplished by using the full spectrum of our brains, both the right side (accentuating creativity; this side tends to learn visually and emotionally) and the left side (accentuating reason, organization and logic; this side tends to learn verbally and logically).  Those only technically correct but without joy, laughter and singing are not really correct; conversely, those who are blissfully joyful, laughing and singing, but without any technical proficiency, are equally incorrect.  Thinking outside the box is both creative and adventurous, but also and always, it must remain deeply premised on a mastery of that which remains established inside the box.  If not, outside-the-box thinking will float out into space untethered from reality and be lost to coherency.  No doubt, abstractions to one is concrete to others, and vice versa, but if we confuse the common ground of language too much, we cease to communicate.