Nothing unconnected ever happens
I do not believe in compartments in life. A person is a whole being, and each person is part of the overall flux of life. We are all connected and nothing unconnected ever happens. So, religion and psychology are related.
They are connected through language because they are both concerned with the psyche, the soul.
They are connected fundamentally and ontologically because human beings exist with the capacity to think about what Tillich called ultimate issues (life, existence, life after death, etc.).
And as part of the flux of life here in Bermuda, I just want to say that what I hear and what I see when I attend Better Covenant Christian Fellowship and listen to Terence Stovell preach makes sense.
It makes sense from a spiritual perspective and it makes sense from a psychological perspective.
He usually preaches what I would consider to be two or three sermons rolled into one, but it comes as a flow out of the heart of the man caught up in the moment with the Spirit of God.
He's got a reasonable grasp of the Greek. He's got a solid drift — that God calls us to the renewing of our minds — and he puts into that perspective the truth that God is still a God of miracles.
Terence senses the transcendence of God, the holiness of God, that God exists outside of time, and Terence understands the immanence of God, that God is yet present within our times.
I was running behind this last Sunday, and in my mind was the familiar debate: will I go or will I just stay home?
There is always something to do instead of go to church. God knows I had projects to complete.
There is a social aspect to church. People like to see their friends.
Sometimes people go out to brunch together after church, but if not something like that, it just feels like you're part of something to be in church together.
There's a group where you belong. It feels good to gather together, shake one another's hands, give and receive hugs, smiles, and to look into one another's faces and feel “with.”
I don't go to church for the social aspect of it. I know that is important, but it's not what's happening for me these days. I go to church because I want to be in fellowship with the Spirit of God.
I know I don't have to go to church for that, but there is something about being with a bunch of people who are all worshipping and focused on God, where the Pastor is a mouthpiece for the word of God. There's just something important about that.
I got there late as the announcements were concluding and the Pastor was about to start preaching. I chose an empty row and sat in a space by myself.
I looked around. I may have been wrong, but it suddenly felt like I was the only white person in the place. I know the theology; all in the church are members one of another, but it felt strange to be the only white person.
Did I really belong? How could I enter into the experience of a group of people so different from myself? I am not Bermudian. I am not black.
I know what the Bible says: “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”
A person these days might add, “… there is neither black nor white …” and yet it was obvious to me that there definitely was black and white.
As the only white one, I felt it. Gone was the white privilege that is the ground of life in the United States.
This was a black, Bermudian church. All we had in common was the fact that we belonged to the body of Christ and our citizenship is in the kingdom of God.
I am a people watcher, and I tend to do that wherever I find myself. So, I noticed the older couple two rows in front of me.
Terence has a habit of telling people, “Look at somebody and say …” and people turn toward one another and repeat what he tells them to say.
Frankly, it drives me nuts, because I don't want somebody intruding on my thoughts and telling me to tell somebody something I may not have had the opportunity to think about, or something I may not agree with.
But I understand it is the custom in his church; so, I am quietly tolerant of it.
The older couple ahead of me were obediently following the Pastor's lead, telling each other various things, and the look on their faces touched me. They were inclined toward one another. They gazed into one another's eyes.
They put their hands on each other. They had the look of people who know one another intimately, and it seemed like a wise kind of knowing — something only gained by the passing of time and the enduring of experience.
They just appeared like they loved each other, and I could not keep from smiling. It was a privilege to see them.
They were so human, so much of what is good about people. At least, that was my imagination about them, and seeing them I thought of people I love.
Nothing unconnected ever happens. The Pastor was preaching his sermons. The people in front of me were responding to him and to one another.
I was in a group feeling a bit like an outsider, and then I was reminded that we are all human beings with the same capacity to love and the same need to be loved.
I was different, but I belonged. I was of a different skin colour and nationality, with a different cultural base from which to make meaning, but I had come to that particular group of people on Sunday morning, because I knew I needed to be there.
That is why we all came, from the Pastor himself all the way down to the only white guy. In Christ we belong together.