Author: Rev. Peter Cusick

G K Chesterton believes that people see life either as chess players or as poets. To a chess player, there is only logic. There are decisive moves, there is strategy, there is intellect. The more brilliant you are, the better a chess player. Poets are the mystics. They paint pictures. They meander through the maze of feelings, circumstances and experiences. Chesterton’s point is as follows. Those who see life as a poet will have an easier time, because mystery is a part of life.

Mystery is where God comes in… more precisely, the person of the Holy Spirit. I have recently, in the last ten years or so, come to see these three key pieces of the God puzzle: mystery, ambiguity, and paradox. This means God doesn’t fit into my box, your box, or anyone’s box. Understanding God as a less than clearly definable person makes some people uncomfortable.

Now I do not want to minimize my own personal belief and appreciation of the Scriptures which, I believe, are indeed a clear and decisive revelation from God to man. However, even those very scriptures have a fair amount of mystery, ambiguity, and paradox.

Using Chesterton’s line of thinking, if your spiritual journey is that of a chess player you will use mainly your mind and strategize how you are going to move along. Your thinking becomes the key to mastering your journey. Knowledge, understanding, and processing unlock the next door for you. What this is void of is the essence of Biblical spirituality—relationship and intimacy with God.

If however, your spiritual journey is more like a poet, you are not ignoring your mind, but you are imaginative, mystical, and open to experience. This is interesting when you realize that, according to Jesus, true spirituality can be summed up with two phrases: love God, love others! And that, is something to think about.

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