The language and practice of mathematics beyond simple functions
can puzzle me greatly.
But sometimes math is fun.

I was at a national United Church gathering on faith.
There was tremendous difference in the room.
The first day my assumptions sat up, primed and guarded.
Sure enough they bumped into other assumptions.
It was easy enough to retreat into righteous corners
of ¬†‘not how I see it.’

Before long, in a universe of slow deepening listening,
And sharing faith stories, and singing and praying, and in conversations that matter
there was a softening of the edges
my edges,
discovering there is a space,
sometimes a sliver
sometimes a chubby mandorla (more on mandorlas another time!)
of union, agreement, a common ahaa!, a uniting both/and
Sometimes a sort of
‘I wouldn’t say it like that yet I join you in holding that concern, that love, that hope.’

Venn diagram“Like a Venn diagram,” said one colleague who, on the first day
I would have defined only by theological difference.
“Exactly,” I said, glad to have an image for this soft place of common faith.

Like a Venn diagram.

Well, that’s math.
And there is a universe and sets and symbols for union, intersection
and difference.
And it can be complicated.
And difference is.

Yet

I’m grateful for time in that room
when I could both hold and let go the integrity of my space
and soften my edges
allowing space
and discovering
even the tiniest overlap
offers more not less.

Math
like this
is hopeful.