Something Laurel said last night made me think of Ravi Zacharias. I know what you’re thinking, What an amazing 7 year old to be linked with one of the greatest Christian apologists of our time!
Bud and I heard Ravi Zacharias speak in 1981. This was before he had started Ravi Zacharias International Ministries and Let My People Think (his radio show) and all that. He came to our church in Syracuse to speak to the College & Career group. I’m sure he had a spiritual message to what he said, but what I remember was him talking about how there are different kinds of thinkers: creative and collative.
Creative thinkers are just that — they are the artists and dreamers. Collative thinkers take all the information they receive and categorize or organize in meaningful ways. This creative/collative definition is not so much a division as it is a spectrum; we all fall somewhere on the spectrum, some more on creative side and some more on the collative side. I’ve never quite figured out where I fall, and I actually told Ravi this some 12 or 13 years later when we heard him speak at Harvey Cedars.
We chose to go to Harvey Cedars that week precisely because Ravi Zacharias was the main speaker for the week. It’s funny, but I can only remember two things he said from that week. One was him reciting “Ozymandias” by Shelley. I’ve loved that poem ever since; it was probably the best poetry recitation I ever heard. The other was this conversation I had with him.
Did you ever want to meet somebody you’ve admired and respected, then when you do, you get all tongue-tied? That’s what happened to me.
“Excuse me, Mr. Zacharias,” I said. “I just wanted to tell you how much I’ve enjoyed hearing you this week.”
“Thank you,” he graciously replied as he shook my hand. It gave me the courage to go on.
“We had the opportunity to hear you speak once before in Syracuse a number of years ago.”
“Oh?” he said.
“You spoke about creative and collative thinkers. Since then I’ve been trying to figure out which I am,” I said, suddenly feeling very foolish.
He laughed and replied, “Well, obviously you’re a thinker, and that’s what is important.”
He was right. I am thinker. Sometimes, I think too much. Most of the time, I think too much. In fact, my friend, Dawn, once sent an email to me and started it, “Dear friend who thinks too much.” She was right.
Back to Laurel… Last night we watched the movie Secretariat, which we loved by the way. Early on in the movie, Penny Chenery is interacting with her father and, while they allude to him being ill, they never really say what is wrong with him.
Laurel pulled me close and whispered, “Does he have Alice Heimers?”
It took me a minute to register what she was saying. When it clicked in my brain, it made such sense. Here was an elderly man who looked semi-healthy — at least he wasn’t bed-ridden — but he was incapable of caring for himself or making decisions of any kind. Laurel neatly took him and popped him into the Alzheimer’s folder in her brain, a very collative thing to do. And that was what got me thinking about Ravi Zacharias.
When I think about creative/collative thinking, I really don’t know where I fall, but it gives me a bit of an understanding of God. God doesn’t fall anywhere on the spectrum. He is the spectrum. He encompasses all of creativity as the Creator of All. He encompasses all of collativity too (is that a word?). “For God is not a God of disorder, but of peace.” 1 Cor. 14:33