The old categories of Systematic Theology included subjects such as God, Christ, Holy Spirit, Ecclesiology, Eschatology, etc. But what if we created a new systematic theology, with new words and new categories and new language? I tried to do this (sort of) in my last book – A Dictionary of Faith: For Open-Hearted, Open-Minded People. If I were to do a new systematic spirituality for today, one of my categories would surely be texture.
When life has texture, it is interesting. And complex. And sensual. A textual spirituality means we pay attention to the rough bark of a tree or the smooth skin of a baby or how communities cannot be understood as slick, boring, homogenous groups. Where there is texture, there is life.
Texture is beautiful. Relationships have texture. Need texture. In some ways the doctrine of the Trinity is texture. God is one, but possessed with the undulating wrinkles of Father, Son and Holy Spirit. You touch God with your mind, and you feel a Creator, a Redeemer and a Sustainer. She has texture! God is a delicate watermark on a beautiful piece of paper.
You touch the body of another human being, and the skin of the elbow is different from the skin of the face and different still from the skin of the hand. Texture. And yes, oh how I still love the feel of a book in my hand! The cover. The binding. The paper. Texture.
Take a Breath today. Life is rarely slick and glossy and smooth. (Thank God!) Because, like God, there’s wondrous texture in our living. Look for it. Notice it. Embrace it. Create it. Celebrate it. And most of all, bring your texture to the world.