One frigid December morning, I was diligently working with my uncle to clear off the snow that accumulated on our driveway. During these moments together, I began talking about my most recent semester at Graceland. It did not take long for the conversation to transition into describing my experience in Introduction to Old Testament. I shared some of the difficulties experienced after seeing scripture through a new ‘lens’ and how it challenged my own understandings.
My uncle listened intently and similar to Forest Gump’s mother, he was able to explain a new concept using a very familiar language…
There’s a scene in Mel Brooks’ “Young Frankenstein” where a medical student is asking Gene Wilder’s character, Dr. Frederick Frankenstein, about bringing the dead back to life. The student is persistent with his perspective and reminds the good doctor of the medical advancements and technologies which allow dead heart and kidney tissue to function again. Dr. Frankenstein is quick to come back and silenced the student with “Hearts and kidneys are tinker toys! I am talking about the central nervous system!”
This scene continues to serve as one of the most significant and influential pieces of my personal theology and beliefs. All too often, I become so absorbed in states of confusion, questioning, and concern that I begin to focus on the negatives and the differences that separate us as part of God’s creation rather than the loving presence that connects my soul to yours.
While differing opinions, beliefs, and understandings are very important and contribute to one’s worth, we can quickly become so blinded by our own personal ambitions, we risk devaluing our siblings in Christ. In the holistic picture of things, the differences between us are tinker toys. God’s omnipresence acts as the central nervous system, flowing through all of creation binding us together. We are all called to be sensitive and to respond courageously.
As we move forward into a time of potential transition as a church, we must continue to be sensitive and listen intentionally. Knowing we won’t see eye to eye on everything, we need to be aware of the ceaseless spirit that exists between all of us. After all, we are talking about the central nervous.