Posted by: JennyRain | December 16, 2009

You had me at…

…the brain.

Anytime a writer can effectively intersect different disciplines to give a holistic picture to the reader, I am completely hooked.

Whether it is theology and psychology, physiology and spirituality, history and science, mathematics and history, or science and the study of God, there is something about the intersection of disciplines that always provides me with tons of “a ha!” moments.

Explain how my anatomical “wiring” is connected to some biblical directive and you have just opened up a world of understanding for me. Providing an interdisciplinary context is like giving the “why” behind the “what” of theology and I love it!

One of the goals of Primal by Mark Batterson is this…

“My aim in this book is to take you to new places intellectually and spiritually so that you discover new ways of loving God.”

Batterson accomplishes this by pulling us into different disciplines… physiology, astronomy, history, business, science, and literature (just to name a few)… and then extrapolating how these disciplines are related to our theological journeys.

This works for me because it satisfies my curiosity at an “interdisciplinary” level.

See, because I am naturally skeptical, I will make mental assent to a theological recommendation (because I know the value of obedience to God) while simultaneously searching for either of the following:

1 – a way out of obeying

2 – a good reason to obey

I will say “yes” to God regarding His “theological recommendation” (aka “command”) but then I keep searching for the loop hole (just in case!)

What I like about Primal is that it closes those loopholes for me by providing the action we as followers of Christ are to take and then many of the reasons behind the benefit of that action.

These are some of my favorite examples:

1 – The intersection of business and theology – Becoming a first-class noticer (FCN):

Business: In Geeks and Geezers, Warren Bennis and Robert Thomas note that successful business leaders all have a common personal character trait…they are FCN’s. An FCN is someone who “recognizes talent, identify opportunities and avoid pitfalls.”

Theology: Batterson states that prayer turns us into FCN’s. It helps us see what God wants us to notice. The more you pray, the more you notice. (It’s like someone has given us a pair of glasses and we can see for the first time what is actually around us!)

For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb… even the very hairs of [my] head are all numbered. (Psalm 139.13; Matthew 10.30)

2 – The intersection of neurology and theology – The reticular activating system (RAS)

As if that was not cool enough, Batterson then goes one step further to connect the concept of being an FCN to our neurology (see, this is where it gets really good for me because it is the intersection of the physiology of our brain to theology. OOOOO this is just soooo exciting! Seriously… it makes my toes tingle!)

Neurology: the RAS is a cluster of nerves at the base of our brainstem responsible for monitoring our environment. It is the job of the RAS to determine – out of the myriad stimuli that hit our senses every day – which ones get noticed.

Theology: When you pray for someone or something, it creates a category in your RAS. Prayer in effect “sanctifies” the RAS and enables us to see God-ordained oopportunities that are around us all of the time. Prayer gives us a God’s-eye view. It heightens our awareness and enables us to perceive spiritual realities.

My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place…your eyes saw my unformed body (Ps 139.15-16).

Y’all, the God of the Universe has wired us in such a way that actually supports all of these spiritual practices we are commanded to do! That is exciting stuff, you know? It means there is a reason for the things we are asked to do.

I praise You because I am fearfully and wonderfully made! (Psalm 139.14)

There are a gogillion more examples I could share with you but then I would ruin the book, so if you are looking for something interesting to read over the holidays, if you have questions about your spiritual journey, if you are questioning why God may be calling you to do something, give Primal a try.

Not only will Primal infuse new life into your journey… it will also provide a wealth of learning that will stimulate your intellect and curiosity. For more information, check out the website!

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