Big Ideas in Little Pictures - Wholes before Parts

This is Tony’s second talk on ‘Big Ideas in Small pictures’.  In this talk, he focuses on ‘synthesis’ – humanity’s mysterious ability to create wholes from parts. He argues that our experience of ‘synthesis’ shines a light on what Gregory says about the mind of God in creating ex nihilo; that God created all humanity in one ‘man’.  In this talk Tony uses an example from one of his past business projects to illustrate both the mystery and the power of synthesis. As in the first talk, Tony is exploring how we are made in the image of God, and how our experience of mind illuminates what at face value seems beyond us – the eternal perspective of God.

Tony Golsby-Smith

Tony has been the original architect of Gospel Conversations—rather like the conductor of an orchestra—in which his role as the conductor is to attract musicians who are better than he is. In many ways, Gospel Conversations is a journey of exploration shared by Tony and his good friends.

Tony’s professional life explains a lot about the paths of inquiry that Gospel Conversations takes. He is trained originally in English Literature—and poetry in particular—before his first career as a secondary school teacher.  This made him comfortable with mystery and ambiguity as necessary roads to the knowledge of God. He has always been fascinated by the mystery of how human beings create and think, and this led him into a long and influential career in Strategy consulting where his firm, Second Road, helps organisations think together more effectively so they can design the future they desire. All of this gave him a high view of humanity, and the faculties by which we design our worlds—and it also gave him a front-row seat watching how humans collaborate to alter realities and shape worlds. His deep grasp of poetics gave him a Romantic theology—with a view of language that TS Eliot called a ‘raid on the inarticulate’ rather than as a scientific exercise towards precision and definition.

Behind this set of intellectual perspectives—which predispose him to exploring horizons of faith—lies his sense of being enveloped by the lifelong love of the God-man, Jesus of Nazareth, and a predilection for radical grace as the defining feature of God’s work with the cosmos—a legacy he first received from his wondrous mother, Patricia. She prayed every day that Tony would articulate to the world the love of Christ that she experienced but felt lost for words in expressing.

Tony Golsby-Smith

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Habakkuk and Redemption: An Alternative Paradigm

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First Fruits in Jeremiah

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