“Reverend, For years I was disaffected from Christianity. As close as I could get was Unitarian Universalist. Then a few months ago I suffered a stroke. I got world-class treatment in just minutes, and I seem to have retained most of my faculties, but I am suddenly a happy Presbyterian. So, pastor, is Christianity a form of brain damage? Or putting it another way, are we hard-wired for our beliefs or lack thereof? Is that part of predestination?” -Robert Rister



So your question is: whether a Presbyterian is just a Unitarian after a stroke? Even though I know you partially have a tongue in cheek, I think there is something important in your question. Forgive that I twisted your wording to make the title more interesting, but as a Presbyterian pastor I enjoyed the poke.

Just as after a stroke one must simplify one’s world, which can actually lead to a richer life, so can religion act as a kind of filter to enrich our lives. Because we are mammals living in a world of such change and complexity, we function at a pace and a scale that our brains can handle, but our hearts cannot.

Our brains can live in Einstein’s maelstrom but our hearts need a nest.

The stories and rituals of a religion can be like the frame of a picture or the walls of a stage. They create a staged microcosm in which our hearts may find expression. They should not limit what the brain will consider, but in this unbounded universe, they may filter out enough stimulation and information for deep art of human living to take place.