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Physics

When I was at university, I was very involved with a campus magazine called Christis (which is still going strong!). It provided a great experience of writing for, illustrating editing and producing a magazine, as well as inordinate amounts of good, clean fun. I took over leadership of the magazine for a couple of years from the previous incumbent, Malcolm Chamberlain, and was delighted when I recently stumbled across his blog.

Earlier this week, he was quoting from a book called Faith Development and Pastoral Care by James Fowler, and this particular section struck me:

In physics, in order to account for the behaviour of light, two incompatible and unintegrable models must be employed – one based on the analogy with packets of energy, and the other on the analogy with wavelike motions somewhat as in sound. Similarly, many truthful theological insights and models involve holding together in dialectical tension the “coincidence of opposites.”

Although I am not a qualified physicist, I have read enough lay books on the subject to recognise the theory that we can only understand how light works through two incompatible models. I may have connected this with thoughts of theology before but the comparison struck me vividly this week.

Perhaps that comes from spending a week walking down el Camino de Santiago in the company of a host of other pilgrims, both in the team I was with and also numerous others. Many undertake that journey from Christian motivations but with differing theologies and understandings of how to approach God. Travelling that road is a good place to meet “particle people” and “wave people” and to enjoy travelling together in the light.

Many, though not all, undertake that journey from broadly Christian motivations. Many, perhaps a wider subset, find it a Christian experience, experiencing more of the mystery of God.

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