A few weeks ago I did a post on prerational, rational, and transrational here.
I have since come back to this on a regular basis as I have continued to wrestle through a very specific question.
Why am I most attracted to a certain kind of person, thinker, author, speaker, or spiritual leader? Some are great thinkers, yet I still feel left lacking.
For me, there are people who have greatly impacted my life who I would say live in a prerational stage. These people focus on the heart (and often, unintentionally neglect the intellect). When questions or doubts are raised, they immediately go into defense mode. For these people, belief or faith is a house of cards – if you pull one card out, the entire thing collapses. As I mentioned, my life has been greatly impacted by many people in this stage and I am very thankful for their influence in my life. Many of these people are very passionate people who love God immensely.
Then there seems to be people who I would say live in the rational stage. They are open to questions and doubts and have very thoughtful answers to many of them. These people tend to embrace critical biblical scholarship, science, archeology etc. I am very thankful for those in this stage who have given me a way to be a Christian as I have moved beyond a prerational stage.
While I have and continue to be influenced by those in a rational stage, I find that those who I am most drawn to, those whom I find most life from, have something more. So I have been asking;
What is that more?
What do they have that others don’t have?
Why, when they speak, do I feel like they are speaking to me at a deeper level than just the heart or the head – almost at a soulish level?
A simple answer is to say they combine both the head and the heart, but I still feel like that is lacking. Maybe it would be more accurate to say that they combine the head and the heart and yet move beyond. Somehow, in someway, they engage my heart and my head, yet unlock so much more inside of me.
Another way to say this is to use the Webster definition of transrational – going beyond or surpassing human reason or the rational.
Those in the prerational stage are often antagonistic toward those in other stages for they see them as wrong, relativistic, heretical, liberal etc. They often say something along the lines of, “stop thinking so much and just accept it.”
Those in the rational stage are often antagonistic those in the prerational stage. They define themselves often by what they are not – they are not prerational (not necessarily always a bad thing). Getting back to my question, those who I am most drawn to are those who are not antagonistic toward others, but somehow transcend and include both the prerational and the rational stages.
As I am thankful to those in the rational stage who continue to shape me, it has left me feeling a little…how do I say it… stale?
To help clarify I can use and example drawing from the Bible. Those in the prerational stage simply accept these stories as literal, historical and factual truth. The story happened exactly as the Bible says it happened for it is the Word of God and must be accepted at face value.
The rational stage cannot except this for it engages the mind through science, archeology, common sense and experience. The story did not happen exactly as the Bible says it happened. In some ways it takes the life out of the story because it is out to prove that the stories are false, which leaves me with the question, “what then does it mean?”
The transrational stage moves through the rational, engages the mind, yet isn’t bothered by the “either/or” statements made by the other stages. The point isn’t if the story literally happened (though they have moved through the rational and understand that it may not be historically accurate), but the truth that the story conveys – it speaks to the human even if it did not literally happen.
Another example is that the prerational often sees the world as divided by the “natural” and the “supernatural”. God is seen sitting back, somewhere in the sky, and occasionally intervenes, i.e. divine intervention.
The rational draws from the intellect and see’s the world as a “natural” state. Since they do not see arms growing or the blind seeing there is not “supernatural”, only “natural”.
The transrational embraces mystery and paradox. The world is not divided into the “natural” and the “supernatural”, yet they realize not everything can be explained by our five senses. God is working, through all things and in all places, yet not in an “interventionist” sort of way, but in another, far more persuasive and evolutionary sort of way – gently pulling us forward toward more love, compassion and inclusion. In other words, the “natural” vs. “supernatural” is a false dichotomy and the transrational embraces the intellect while moving beyond just an intellectual understanding or knowing.
Those I am most drawn to seem to simply be. They choose to widen the circle and to redefine what it means to be a Christian – without the need to push anyone out. In a way, they seem to be paving a third way forward beyond two polarizing options.
To the prerational stage, the transrational seems like the rational in that it engages the head and is seen as – false, heretical, liberal etc. To the rational, the transrational seems to much like the prerational in that it seems to focus more on the heart (though the transrational does not neglect the head) and accepts that not everything can be explained by the rational mind.
In a sentence, those whom I am most drawn to are those who have moved beyond the prerational and rational, engage the heart and the head, and yet live with wonder and awe as they experience the great Mystery I call God.
What do you think? Does any of this make sense?