The Relationship Fractal
My friend Paul shared an observation with me recently and the more I grasp it the more I see it challenging everything in my relationship pyramid (better man, better husband, better father). As always, Paul’s outstanding teachings can be accessed on iTunes.
It starts with understanding the concept of a fractal. The best definition I’ve read of a fractal is a self-similar, repeating pattern.
Math, Science, Nature
Mathematicians illustrate with this with the Sierpinski Triangle. Wikipedia calles it “a mathematically generated pattern that can be reproducible at any magnification or reduction.” Exactly the definition of a fractal.
They are all around us in nature. One example is lightning.
The bolts are not random. They are governed by fractal equations and repeated on every branch.
From the world of agriculture, we have the brocolli sprout. Take a look at those spirals. Everyone is the same shape and proportion. Spirals have spirals in them. If we could zoom in, we would see the same spiral pattern repeated in the smaller spirals as we do with the larger ones.
Rivers, creeks and trees are governmed by fractals.
What is that a picture of? Maybe a tree? It’s actually the Baja River in California. Why does it look like a tree? It is because they are governed by the same fractal equations.
Sometimes shapes are repeated in completely unrelated parts of nature but governed by the same fractal equation. Things like the galaxy and the hurricane.
This same pattern repetition is also observed when comparing brain cells and a nebula, or the natlius and the Milky Way.
Some fractals are so universal they repeat even within themselves. They look the same at virtually any scale as the Koch snowflake so beautifully represents.
Fractals form the fabric of reality. It is almost as if an unseen reality is trying to make itself seen.
Body, Soul, Sprit
God himself is a fractal. He is Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Jesus said “he who has seen me, has seen the Father” (John 14:9). Jesus is the perfect, self repeating pattern of the Father.
Our very composition represents another smaller fractal of God. We are made in His image, and we are also three part entities made up of Body, a Soul and a Spirit.
The Body is the easiest of the three to understand. It’s the one we can see (or probably don’t want to see). Our body is the vehicle we use to interact with the natural world. It uses the five senses to convey information to us and help us understand our enviroment.
Our soul in our inner being and sentience. It is the seat of emotions, and our thought life. It is from our soul that imagination springs. It is our soul where memories are stored. The soul speaks to us through our conscience. We know some things are wrong or right almost intriscially. C.S. Lewis surmised it was because our soul is connected to a greater, unseen reality.
The inputs of the both the Body and the Soul are intergrated and passed to the Spirit. The Spirit is our true selves. It is immortal. It is in our spirit that we find our faith. Hope wells up from the spirit. Prayer and worship must emmenate for the spirit. Jesus said we must worship Him in sprit and in truth. (John 4:24)
What does all this have to do with being a better person, husband, or father?
Philipians 2:5 says “In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus”
The life of Christ becomes a FRACTAL for our lives to REPEAT. – Paul Rienzo
Jesus is the fractal. We are smaller versions of Christ. “Husbands love your wives as Christ loved the Church.” Christ is the big fractal, we repeat it. Christ loves the church. We love our wives in the same manner, repeating the fractal.
Husbands are fractals of Jesus. Dads are fractals of Jesus.
The Bible puts forth a fractal shape, fractal “equations” (if we can use the word loosely) that tell us how to live our lives at every level. To follow Christ (to be a Christ One, a Christian) is to look to the principles of God and repeat them in every area of our lives.
This fractal has to echo throughout the entire relationship pyramid.
How do I become a better man and serve and love my fellow man better? Look at how God loves.
How do I love my wife better and become a better husband? Look at how Christ loves his Bride, the Church.
How do I love my kids better and become a better father? Look at how God the Father love me, his child.
Credit for helping to understand the Body, Soul, and Spirit comes from Dr. Clarence Larkin, “Rightly Dividing The Word“