The Australian poet, theologian and philosopher Kevin J Hart gives an intriguing interview here What is so helpful in this extract from a fuller conversation is Hart's indebtedness to an algebra lesson for his conversion. The Damascus road experience came to him while looking at a blackboard with a simple equation, and his realisation as he looked around the class that he was now seeing the world differently. At this stage there was no theological content, more a sense of the mystery and longing and beauty of life distilled into the elegant rightness of an equation. Later his discovery of a Southern Baptist congregatrion (in Australia), opened him to new and deeper longings for a God both transcendent and immediate, whose love beyond words was nevertheless sung out with passionate intensity in hymns utterly inadequate to their theme, and in their lack of metaphysical reach, all the more poignant and valid.
When later at age 21 he converted to Catholicism, he became interested in the mystical streams of Catholic theology, and in the tension between kataphatic and apophatic theology,the classic distinction between positive theology as a revelation and way of knowing, and negative theology as a more reticent admission of unknowing. Hart is an important voice because what he says is refracted through a mind at ease with mathematical abstraction, careful in theological humility, precise in philosophical reflection, imaginative in poetic discourse, and each of these articulated within his Catholic faith in which the sacraments function as reminder and confirmation of the God in whose mysterious conjoining love Creation, human being, and life itself subsists.
Hearing Hart's testimony is a reminder of the need for some apophatic reticence in all of us if we are ever tempted to make our own experience the paradigm, our own theology the norm, our own take on the world a claim we know 'the way it is'. Truth is not univocal, as if 'it means one thing and that's what I think it means'. Nor is truth equivocal, as if 'it means what each person thinks it means'. Mathematics, poetry, evangelical hymnody, mystical theology, Continental philosophy are any one of them slightly off the beaten path of the ordinary; as an intersection of disciplines, intellectual, theological and ethical, they provide for Hart a multi-vocal exploration of this vast mystery, this terrifyingly beautiful conundrum that is our human existence in relation to the God in whom we live and move and have our being.
I came across this interview clip by entire accident, follwing several links from facebook to youtube. By such random purposefulness life is enriched.