The Disclaimer: I am not a scientist, I’m not an astrophysicist, I’m not a rocket scientist. At best I’m a theologian or contemplative, at worst I’m just a dude. I’m reflecting on this from my perspective, I’m not making truth claims or posting theories based on expert knowledge. I know it’s just an attempt to illustrate a point and doesn’t in fact capture the entire picture of the galactic plane. Ok? . . . ok.
The Video: I find this video model fascinating for it’s contrast to our normal two dimensional understanding of how our universe revolves around the sun. Most of us get our imagery from 2D posters on our junior high science classroom of a ‘heliocentric’ (sun centered) universe which was a great advancement from the ancient days of a ‘geocentric’ (earth centered) understanding of the universe. There was a day when we literally thought and understood that the world revolved around us. That came from a time in Greek thought where philosophy ruled the day. Our starting point for reflection, contemplation and search for truth started with ourselves. So naturally, the world came to be about us.
It was the advancement of science that began to tell a different story. That the experience of gravity on earth did not mean that in fact then the earth was the center of gravity in the universe. Rather, it was far more complex than that. Rotation, axis and orbit can explain for the phenomenons we observe on earth and that it is the sun that is in fact the center of the big idea and the planets, systems and stars have a relational tie to it. Science helped us see that the world is in fact not about us, that we have a part to play in a much larger drama and we should have some humility and responsibility about that galactic relationship.
Philosophy to Science to now Technology. This video builds on the 2D heliocentric idea of the universe by taking it another step and illustrating that the better understanding of movement around the sun is to see it as ‘vortex’ motion of being intertwined amidst the solar winds as we orbit around the sun. The 3D model shown here is the ‘helical’ model. It invites us to understand the intertwining motion as even a more complex relationship we have at the ‘Macro’ level of how our universe works and then pushes us to reflect upon how we see this same design in our ‘Micro’ level life and creation all around us. To me, it’s fascinating.
The Community Idea: Again, I’m not a scientist, it just interests me for it’s perspective and it’s revelation of truths. I highly value knowledge because it informs my real life. What I am an expert in is ‘community’. I’ve given my life and study to it for a couple decades now. My dissertation was on the loss of community in the American landscape and suggestions on how we might find our way again in it. I have often reflected and asserted that community is best understood as well as a ‘gravitational pull’. Community gets centered around something that pulls people together. Books, football, school, fashion, movies, coffee, wine, beer, lifestyles, interests, religion etc. The strength and longevity of the community depends upon the nature of the gravitational center. If a community forms around the celebration of the Winter Olympics, then it will be experienced once every 4 years and will cease after the closing ceremonies. If the community forms around biological family bonds, then barring relational scars, it goes from birth to death and we are in a vortex with each other for every event in between.
I do believe that community is a vortex of relational pull towards one another. Our lives can be intertwined in a very complex relationship and the longer the community is in that vortex, the stronger the relational pull. As a relational universe, the proximity increases, the gravity increases and the community gets closer and more intertwined as it moves together on a time continuum we call ‘life’.
14 years ago, my wife and I experimented by starting a spiritual community in our home with the stated assumption that the center of our gravitational pull would be Jesus and the Scriptures. The person of Jesus, his teachings, his life and his Spirit would be what we would organize our lives around and then let those things pull us together. We live individual, family and American suburban lives but we would confront that reality by choosing ‘community’ as our faith model. We didn’t want individual faith, we wanted a shared story. Ordinary Community was the result. This is what we call ‘church’.
Over the years, this gravitational pull has exponentially increased. The intertwining of our lives is a great contrast to the world’s ideals around us of a consumer lifestyle based on ‘avoiding boredom’ and individual wants. The pull into spiritual community has redefined family for us. We have a much larger network of brothers, sisters, spiritual cousins, aunts, uncles etc. Our kids only know ‘community’ as their gravitational center. This all may sound cultish, but it is the language of our Patriarch, that Jesus guy. (Cults are defined by hoarding resources, we give away 100% of our shared resources, again that Jesus guy told us to) Our lives are a moving vortex with one another as we spiral around Jesus and His Scriptures towards a more realized experience of Christian spiritual maturity. Our hope is that as we do that then we love our neighbors better, love our enemies better, serve our world better, experience wholeness/peace/joy better and in fact live in the truth of what our entire universe is all about. That we are eternal souls: created by God, resurrected by Jesus and called into a Spirit-filled life story together. That our lives have context with each other and the world all around us. Community is a messy vortex of intertwined motion, we spiral through life together and we wouldn’t want it any other way.
I love my gravity community. #OCC4Life