I recently had a conversation with a colleague about the geometry of prayer. Imagine drawing a line between the participants of any prayer. Some examples would be:
Thanksgiving, where the line moves from the pray-er to God, about something—and the pray-er is already in relationship somehow with that thing.
In penitence, the pray-er is asking God to attend to something about themselves.
In oblation, the pray-er offers something of themselves to God.
In adoration, the simplest geometry, the pray-er unidirectionally adores God.
The beauty of this geometry, is the complexity of forms that might create depending on any set of prayers. As they all come together, they all add to the beauty of the whole.
Imagine mapping your prayers this week: what an image that could create!
This type of mapping can apply to our communications with others, too:
When I speak to my friend, it’s a linear bi-directional reality.
A group conversation has bi-directional lines between each person.
Time and context affects geometry as well; a speech or sermon is unidirectional lines from a central point to numerous (hopefully listening) other points, but this will ideally then inspire further healthy conversation.
The geometry of conversation can get muddled, however, especially as the number of people involved increases, or a situation becomes more complex: which is normal for folks living within community.
The church, the community of God’s children, is challenged to be intentionally and careful about it’s relations, to ensure that they remain healthy and positive.
A sermon heckler disrupts the flow of communication for everyone present, breaking the geometry.
One person speaking to another person about a third person is gossip; such triangulation is harmful to everyone involved.
Two people who disagree respectfully can have parallel lines and constructive dialogue; two people who argue will show only lines that clash, and may impact other lines with other people.
Imagine mapping your conversations this week: what an image that could create!
Is your prayer geometry as beautiful as you would like for it to be?
Is your conversational geometry as beautiful as you would like it to be?
Do the two resemble each other? Do you want them to?
Communication is complex and nuanced, and influenced by emotion. Not everything we say will be heard as we intend; not everything we hear will be meant how we hear it. With verbal communication being a mere 7% of our message, we must take extra care of what we do say, and to whom. Perhaps mapping the geometry of our words—to God and to one another—is one way in which we can bring focus and awareness.