In Praise of Pursuing Tangents

By definition a tangent takes us a direction we would not otherwise go if we were to stay on our original trajectory

I’m really excited about the prospects of my book being published next year.  Enslaved to Saved: The Metaphor of Christ as Our Master  has helped me redefine the way I think about the Lord and my relationship with Him.  It’s been a great learning experience for me and hopefully the book will help others to do the same.  But that is a story for another time.

To a large degree, this whole experience was the result of pursuing a tangent.  I had been reading the Epistles of Paul and noted his penchant for referring to himself as the servant of Jesus Christ. What started out to be a little curious digging about proved to be a process of discovery that went on for months and has blessed me in ways I could never have imagined.

This exercise really left me astonished at the degree to which I was able to feel inspired independently of others. My attendance at Church, the Temple and exposure to lessons and talks were certainly inspiring. But I had forgotten how much God can inspire us One on one . Walker Percy described the influence of God on his mind and intellect as if it were a thief sneaking up  on him at night when he least expected it:

“I can sometimes feel Him slip into me like a thief with good tools.”       

I certainly don’t have his eloquence, but I know the feeling he was trying to describe. It is powerful medicine. To realize that God cares enough to manifest Himself in our hearts and minds as we toil away with our cares and projects–all while the world falls to pieces–is truly disarming. To realize that we are more than just a sponge that can only be passively filled by inspiration from others is liberating.  To have God give us our very own strokes of genius, discovery and understanding is to be inspired in a way that is very special indeed.

Such strokes of brilliance come at a price that anyone can afford, but we often simply fail to ask for it. Brigham Young said “we live far below our privileges” when it comes to accessing the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. He patiently waits to be invited into the discussion that is going on in our mind. Perhaps taking some time to pursue the occasional tangent may cause you to open a door only to find that the Lord was standing outside knocking without you realizing it. It’s something we really ought to do more often.


Photo Credit: wikimedia (used with permission)

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3 thoughts on “In Praise of Pursuing Tangents

  1. Hi Reid, the amazing thing to me, is that I dreamt about your family last night. you came to visit us at our business.. I think it must be connected with the book you’re writing, I do have interesting dreams, but had to share this because I wasn’t thinking of your family at all, and then there’s your post about new blog shared today. so I’ll add to my Godwink journal. take care and give my best to your family.

    1. You have always been visionary . . . a little like father Lehi I guess. It’s truly a gift, and even more so when you can recognize the hand of the Lord in it all. I’ve been thinking of you frequently, and thinking of Dick even more. Funny how those things go.

  2. I am so excited that you are writing a book! Thanks for living in such a way that you are inspired to lift others! We appreciate and admire the good man that you are!

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