Richard Feynman was one of the greatest theoretical physicists of the 20th century, and I think what made him so great was that he could take a situation and look at it from a completely different perspective. For example, I saw an interview where he mentioned how we today can’t understand how people of the past believed in witches and had strange rituals. But he suggested another strange ritual that we have now. Think about how, as the earth rotates, it’s a new morning for the people who are on the dawning edge of the earth. So, there are constantly people getting up, around the area of the dawning edge of the earth as it rotates. People on the east coast of the US are all brushing their teeth within several hours of each other in the morning, and later the folks in the Midwest are doing it, and on to the west coast and beyond: a wave of tooth brushing moves across the globe like the wave that fans do at a baseball game. So, effectively, we have a non-stop wave of people brushing their teeth near the dawning edge of the earth as it rotates! What a strange ritual. A whole new perspective, right?
Where did he get this? Well, if you listen to him speak, he always returns to the source: his father. His father used to play these games with him and ask him, How would you see things if you were a Martian seeing the world for the first time? Richard Feynman talked a lot about his Dad. His father gave him the ability to see things from a whole new perspective: from the outside.
Jesus comes saying he’s with his Father, doing what He’s doing, and he starts talking about things in a strange, new way. The first are last and the last are first. A person who gives a few cents gives more than anyone else. People are paid a whole days’ labor for an hour of work. A man can forgive offenses against God. The poor are blessed and the rich are cursed. A king hangs on a cross, and a conniving fox lives in a palace. A whole new perspective, right?
When Jesus talks about being born from beginnings, about being in the world but not of the world, he means that we can have a deeper, broader home than what we already have. Our home is beyond everything. And we can have a view of life and reality from that vantage point to add to our view from the inside:
A view from the outside with our Father.
A whole new perspective.
“Amen, amen, I say to you, no one can see the kingdom of God without being born from above.” (Jn 3:3)