Dayton Edmonds is a Native American storyteller and Christian, whose theology centers on Jesus the storyteller, the one whose parables turned everything upside-down.
A primary insight of Dayton’s stories is that it really doesn’t matter what story he begins with and what one he ends with because at some point they’ll intersect. The same may be said of a circle. A circle has no distinct beginning and no distinct ending point. Not so with the linear world. For our Western minds where we begin and end along a line graph is everything. And the two ends won’t meet. The two points of a line are diametrically opposed and moving in two opposite directions.
There’s a distinguished place for our linear Western minds and for reason in human history. Without them the sciences wouldn’t have transformed the worlds of medicine, aviation, and electronics. Yet, when reason is emphasized to the exclusion of intuition and transcendence, the life of the mind is impoverished and its full genius unrealized.
As many philosophers have pointed out, when employed rigorously, reason leads to contradictory conclusions. For most of us dualistic Western thinkers these contradictions are never resolved. Our Western minds are born of a historic schism between nature and civilization, mind and body, religion and science, God and humanity. We assume the polarities are diametrically opposed and can’t be reconciled.
Mystics tell us there’s a way beyond persistent dualisms—a way beyond the opposites. Mystics tell us dealing with polarities generates paradoxes, which offer the possibility of profound integration beyond what reason can conceive. If we consent, the incarnation can take us to the point where reason turns back on itself. It can take us to that point where the absolute difference between time and eternity, God and humanity begins to break down.