Wednesday, August 07, 2013

Science and Art

I read an article written by Stephen Beal called Turn STEM to STEAM: Why Science needs the arts.  His premise is that science and the arts are intertwined - they have similar purposes and processes and that advances in one will require the illumination from the other one.

I passed the article onto my younger son, the trumpeter.  He read it, and we talked about it.  I don't think he was as convinced as I was in the truthfulness of what the author wrote about, but I may have changed his mind.

I am a living example of how science and art can interact and enhance each other.  When I worked in the lab, doing very "scientific" work, with procedures and strict experimental design, I saw the value of creativity -- it's an inescapable component of problem solving.  In my life now, as I work in a less scientific field, I find that I use my analytical skills very often, in order to describe and understand the world in which I am working.

I wonder, though, if we get stuck in the idea that the skills and gifts we need for a particular mission are from a small subset of what is possible. Do we forget that value of metrics when we do the work of evangelism?  Do we believe that our Finance Committees can't benefit from creative ministry?  Do we think God draws lines around what we are to do?

A friend, who serves on our Church's Board of Trustees, said the other day, "I don't know why I'm a member of this Committee.  I don't bring any financial gifts at all."

Have you served on a lay leadership committee in the church?  Do you find that only the "accounting" type people are appointed to the finance committee?  Do you see that only the people involved in childhood education are asked to serve on Christian Education Committees?  What would happen if an artistic person served on Finance?  Would he be frustrated or would he enhance the work being done?  What if the neighborhood accountant was asked to do visitation?  Would she like it, and would she expand the vision of the committee?  Or not?

I'm glad my friend serves on the Board of Trustees, because I think the Committee needs the other gifts she does bring.  I think this line of thought opens up two opportunities for us.  I wonder if our work is narrowed because we draw boxes around it.  We need to open ourselves to the possibilities of asking people to serve in areas of church leadership where they don't have traditional expertise, and we need to listen to what they have to say.

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