Athletes who specialize in one particular sport are encouraged to cross-train in order to improve overall performance. Of course, basic fitness is good for all sports, but on top of that foundation, building skills in more than one speciality is beneficial in reaching top ability in another.
In complex organizations, managers are well advised to have the members of their teams cross-train in each other’s skills, so that the team as a whole can continue to function in the absence of particular members. Cross training is good for employees and team members because it makes each person more valuable to the organization that she serves.
Human life is like that. A technician who cannot appreciate a well plotted mystery or a well played sonata is missing something of what it means to be human. A scientist whose sense of wonder does not stretch beyond the laboratory to the way of an eagle in the air; the way of a serpent upon a rock; the way of a ship in the midst of the sea; and the way of a man with a maid, lives an impoverished life.
It is much the same thing when a poet cannot fry an egg, a parson cannot change a tyre, or a linguist cannot program a GPS to show him the way to an address in a city where he has never driven. We all need to know the depths of the human soul, and have an idea of the mountains of human potential.
The false dichotomies of “arts vs sciences”, “faith vs reason”, “spiritual vs physical” and even “mind vs matter” impoverish what it means to be both human and divine at the same time.
David Alexander now resides in Holland, MI after 39 years in Taiwan.