“You were made and set here to give voice to this, your own astonishment.”
Annie Dillard, A Writer in the World
My consideration of God was forever changed by the work of Margaret J. Wheatley. Her ground-breaking text, Leadership and the New Science: Learning about Organization from an Orderly Universe, originally published in 1992 was assigned reading for an elective seminary course in which I was enrolled years ago. I entered seminary hungry for new perspective, new possibilities, and new questions. Little did I know that a text completely outside the circle of traditional seminary study would so radically change my world view! For me, Wheatley’s images and analogies were communicating truths applicable far beyond guides for human organizational systems. She was inviting me into the quantum world – grandeur on the smallest scale.
I am among many who find ourselves “standing in the place between” – nostalgic for the comfort of simple metaphors and child-like acceptance of stories we learned in Sunday School, yet increasingly impatient with the widening gap between emerging scientific understanding and worn-out, traditional, religious doctrine. Ready to acknowledge truth in many forms and secure enough to live with Mystery, we are ready to move on. But how….?
I credit Margaret Wheatley with planting the seed for me – the seed that has become my choice to simply live amazed. That choice leaves me free to identify with spiritual AND religious. I love the questions posed by Dr. Ursula Goodenough, cell biologist and religious naturalist: “What is being religious anyhow? What about the way I feel when I think about how cells work or creatures evolve? Doesn’t that feel the same as when I’m listening to the St. Matthew Passion or standing in the nave of the Notre Dame Cathedral?”
I want to share amazing things that have come into my awareness since Margaret Wheatley so graciously invited me to pay close attention. The reality of this place we call home is Amazing … from the quantum to the cosmic; from the human zygote to the ancient baobab; from the rotten underside of a fallen log to pristine, sandy beaches; from a highly groomed botanical garden to the edge of a murky pond; from the silence of dark, ocean depths to the agonizing sounds of grieving elephants. I have discovered fabulous meaning-making in simply looking around!