Saturday, April 20, 2013

The Art and Science of Thinking

Teaching The Art and Science of Thinking – addressing creative and critical thinking along with problem solving and decision making – has become a standard workshop from which to begin all workshops. Sometimes we are trapped simply because of the way we think – often influenced by culture, education, experience, and opportunity (or lack thereof). Learning how to change the way we think – about our lives, about our community, and about our God – can set us free.

To begin, I ask people to describe what they think of as “art” and then of “science.” Typically no one will venture a guess. Why? Because in these villages exposure to such seemingly insignificant subjects is non-existent…they really don’t understand what these terms mean. Using pictures, I illustrate with famous works by Michelangelo, Da vinci, and others. Most people are amazed, though I have no expectation that they will have ever seen the likes of paintings such as The Creation of Adam. But when I show them pictures of Ugandan people dressed in traditional clothing, engaged in traditional dance, or crafting pottery and jewelry I somehow expect recognition or realization. Instead, what seems to happen is this moment of amazement that their very own culture could be filled with art. What comes next is the teaching that we are made in the image of The Creator and thus ought not be surprised to find such beauty among the people.
More than 20 people squished into this small sitting room to watch.

Closing the section specifically about this topic, we watch the film NOOMA Rhythm where the ideas of art and science come together in the form of a symphony (another unrecognized element from more developed cultures). Though most don’t understand the language, the visual medium affords dialogue that leads to a greater awakening of how art and science (rhythm and symphony) can bring us in alignment with God’s plan for our lives. I ask the question of whether or not we are in tune with His song? This question – taken from the film – seems to create a moment of pause…a moment when people begin to see how it all fits together.

Seated in the darkness and quiet of post film viewing, we contemplate the question…the question of whether or not we’re in tune with the song. This is when the Holy Spirit takes over and the real ministry begins.