Strength from Separation in Connection

Science & Religion News 6 (Fall 1995): 8

Kevin Sharpe

The scientific world speaks to the inquisitive and adventuresome me. The spiritual relates to the lover of depth, mystery, faith, and tradition. My scientific self inspires my spiritual self and my spiritual self wants to engage the scientific with the human. I want to explore better ways for marrying the two sides of my experience. One shouldn't subsume, manage, or ignore the other to resolve the tension between them. Rather, with respect for each other, they should together build a whole which exceeds what each could be separately.

Some husbands believe they should manage their wives' money. I prefer marriages of equality; not where each manages the other, but where neither manages the other and mutual support flourishes. Many relationships where the wife retains her given name--and the husband his--achieve this. Compared to tradition, she starts from a position of strength and can be more herself; he too benefits and can be more himself without the need to supervise his wife. With respect and working together, they can build each other to become a whole which exceeds what they could be individually.

A traditional Christian community nurtured me as a child and young adolescent. A moral group of people, it stood solidly for particular values while it accepted those who disagreed. It believed--as I still do--that everyone has the right to justice and a humanized life.

My spiritual home helps me to touch the experience of people who have lived in the last 6,000 years: I feel part of a communion that reaches to the beginnings of western culture and before, and I belong to my heritage, my roots. I also belong to my inheritors; something dwells in that spiritual tradition that I honor and want preserved and encouraged. Unfortunately, under the pressures of the secular and scientific, and under the "all or nothing," "do or die" fear of spiritual vigilantes, the tradition may fall. I want an approach that helps sustain the roots of the tradition but doesn't shut itself off.

Scientists too discover mystery at the heart of their work, at its fringes, or within its mundaneness. We can't understand why light behaves like both waves and particles. Creative scientists experience flashes of insight, ideas they forge into revolutionary theories. But the mystery of science floats outside a tradition that would enhance it with meaning, it doesn't connect with the mystery experienced by people of the past and bequeathed to the spiritual community.

Copyright 1995 by Kevin Sharpe.