a few months ago, I did something kind of radical for me. I was one of those people who became ruthlessly dedicated to organizing my books and CDs into style and subject categories. With books, I had poetry on one shelf, fiction on another, scholarly books on one, books about christians on another, “holy spirit” books on another, jewish books on another. I even separated my spiritual books down to constructed, hand-me-down categories–this one is charismatic, this one is contemplative, this one is theological, and so on. So when Derek and I put up our beautiful and towering new oak bookshelf one afternoon last fall, I let it sit empty for nearly a month. The bookshelf loomed ominous and desperate in that corner of our room, but I did not want to pressure it into all the categories that all my other bookshelves have had to become. Behold, bookshelf, you are a new creature, I said.
See, without knowing it, I had elevated certain types of knowledge above others. I was also separating stories, poems, gifts and spiritual gems into the exact categories that I have disdained doing so much in people. And of course I was doing it so that I would be able to find things again, which is normal. But this time I thought it would be a good idea if melancholic philosophers were sandwiched between, say, Ruth Ward Heflin’s Glory with all of its heaven encounters and burbling pentecostal joy, and Derek’s books on rabbinical midrash. Sure, some of my books no longer feed me. I have outgrown them. Some of my books have some falsehood in them. But I am letting all the people mix. The ones who have spiritual impartations need to throw some of their oil on the ones who, while being able to articulate themselves with incredible intellectual and creative license, just need to fall down and giggle for a few hours. By this process some books are getting “consecrated”–hee hee.
So now my bookshelf looks like a big party–everyone is mingling and having a drink and some people are getting drunk in the spirit for the first time. I like that.
Now of course this is not for everyone right now; for a time I needed certain books to be known for how much spiritual life they brought. For example, I needed to know the difference between things that were about God and things that are from God… so there is such a thing as healthy sorting and knowing who gives what kind of gifts. But for a time… it is good to let your categories blow out the window. Not all the systems and categories of the world are true, or lasting. We need to let ourselves be blinded to these ways of thinking so that our minds are led into Spirit thinking. Like tonight I was wondering if God separates art forms the same way we do–here is dance, here is painting, here is literature, here is music. It’s just not that simple in His atmosphere. Christians can be among the worst at this kind of extreme “us-them” “either/or” thinking–and I am one of the guiltiest. But today I was reminded by Jesus that He comes to us to be ONE with us. He does not come to us to define himself against us.
There is such a oneness that is coming to earth from Him… we will not be able to contain it, or keep all the categories straight that we have kept so beautifully for so long. Even of Jew and Gentile, there is Him coming to make from both of us one new man! Oh it will be so beautiful. There is no erasing of identity in that–and there is order and even hierarchy in heaven. But the level of continuity and oneness between Him and all of His creation; each nation and tree and animal and expression of thought and movement and song and word will move and flow with each other from within the One who made it all. I want to be around for the finale!