Many of us spend a good deal of our lives avoiding crashes (at least some of us do…ahem…Mr. Stock Market). We covet safety and convenience. We buckle up our lives, insulating them with attempted guarantees at an existence that won’t take us to uncomfortable or frightening places. We put bumpers around our hearts and look both ways when we cross the street. We take “calculated risks” and avoid intersections in favor of the straight and narrow.
Then life happens.
Inevitably we run into things. Sometimes fast and hard. Enough crashes and you can see why someone would be a little more cautious. Crashes hurt.
But what if we were intentional about our crashes? What if we ran headlong into intersections that might transform us into something new?
The Large Hadron Collider buried 574 feet below the ground near Geneva, Switzerland is attempting to do just that. According to a NY Times primer on the Collider, the particle physicists in charge of the project are doing what particle physicists do best - smashing things together and then watching what comes tumbling out. They hope that by hurtling bits of energy into one another within the 17 mile tube at incredible speeds, they might uncover some of the universe’s most deeply held secrets.
What I love about their work, although I don’t understand most of it, is their incredible intentionality. They know that good things come when you intentionally smash one thing into another for a purpose greater than seeing a mere explosion. And they’ve done this by intentionally creating a space, or container, or intersection, for said crashes to occur.
In my book, UNTITLED I wrote the following:
I’ve always been fascinated by the intersection of art and faith and, in fact, have always thought of all art as a spiritual experience.
Art seeks to tell the truth in dark places (movie houses, theatres, sanctuaries, museums) and it seems to me that’s what faith in God seeks to do as well – tell the truth in dark places.
We cannot hope to do this well unless we commit to a process of inner work and guidance from a higher power.
I have found that when I’m brave enough to venture into these arenas (into these intersections); when I’m able to offer my full self; when my inner self has been explored,
I tell the most truth and I create the best work.
The fascination with these intersections ultimately lead me to an extraordinary place called The Seattle School of Theology and Psychology (formerly known as Mars Hill Graduate School). You can read more about how it ruined my life in the very best of ways here, but in a few short words, it completely transformed me. Big words I know, and yet all the hyperbolic phrases in the world could not contain the profundity of my experience. In fact, were I a richer man I’d pay for everyone reading this post to go.
What this odd school sitting at the literal intersection of Elliott and Wall does best is create intentional space for transformational crashes to occur not dissimilar to those happening 175 meters below the Swiss Alps. They believe (as do I) that with intentionality, sacrifice, and a dot of hope, glorious things can be redeemed through the process of uncovering your story.
After my two disruptively beautiful years, I left with a Masters in Christian Studies with an emphasis in Creative Arts and Theology. The website describes the program as follows:
The Creative Art and Theology Track prepares students for the prophetic role of the artist. Students explore the intersection of theology and art in order to live into their artistic calling – the transformation of people and culture through the production of artwork and creative experiences.
It was in this intersection that I began to discover what I referred to above as my “full self.” It is because I ventured into this intersection that I’m starting to tell more truth and create continually better work.
Does something ache within you when you imagine smashing into a million bits only to be reformed into something new? Perhaps you’re ready to run headlong into a intersection at the Seattle School.
Their next application deadline is December 12th and they’re waiving the $50 application fee, which is darn nice of them.
If you’re thinking you’re at all interested, email me and I’d be happy to jump on the phone or Skype to chat about my experience. You can can also contact them at admissions here or call 888.977.2002.
May I remind you, however, that this school is not for the faint of heart.
It is only for those willing to step into the intersection without looking both ways in the hopes that something lovely might emerge by the time you get to the other side of the street.
*This was a sponsored post and yet the sum of money I received pales in comparison to the debt I owe this place.