Sunday, May 6, 2007
The Real World
I enjoyed a long-desired past-time today... curling up in a Starbucks armchair with a latte and a geeky book. Yes, it was awesome. The book "The Eclipse of Biblical Narrative" was a book I had wanted to delve into for quite some time. I've started it at least three times.. I'm committed to finishing it this time!
Something in it struck me today. There was a section that talked about the way that Scripture had always been read. It was not that it was trying to reconstruct the whole ostensive (tangible) world of the past. Rather, it's trying to paint the appropriate perspective by which we should understand the past... God's perspective.
It's like watching a film. The writer and director is creating a particular world for the viewer to accept. For example, in Spiderman, we simply accept that it is possible for people to morph into monsters simply by scientific experiments going array... we accept that someone can fall several stories from a building and hit their head on a dumpster and result in just a bloody cut on the side of the head but still can run away from the scene without any broken bones. Or let's take it a step further... we can accept that even killing someone is an acceptable form of revenge so long as our hero remains "right" and the one killed is considered pure "evil."
Directors simply establish a set of truths, and if skilled enough, have the ability in that to redefine what is right and wrong. And if they are good at their craft, audiences will believe it for those 2 hours in the theatre, enough to lose themselves in the story. (which makes me cringe at the world we introduce to young minds when they watch horror films...)
In our every day world, we are bombarded by the world's standards of right and wrong. In our world today, premarital sex is just something everyone does for fun. Hating someone is OK if they "deserve it." Smoking is acceptable as long as you don't impose it on someone who doesn't like it. Swearing is totally a right every person has for themselves. The goal in life is to get married, have kids, buy your home, your car, your life... This world has painted its own moral strokes and every day, we get sucked into it.
The Bible does a similar thing. The difference is that it paints the world from the eyes of the One Who created it. God presents to us the accurate picture of reality -- the only true reality. As readers we accept that reality. As Christians, we must go one step further.... we are responsible to align our lives according to that reality -- and therein lies great freedom.
When we go too long from reading the world through God's eyes, we lose the sense of reality and get sucked into a false reality that takes us far from where we should be. And at moments when we stop to see where we are, we can find ourselves lost and far from where we should be. We find ourselves hating instead of loving our enemies. We choose self over others. We find ourselves criticizing rather than encouraging. We consent to lose our battles, instead of feeling energized to continuing to fight the good fight.
Somehow, we need to grasp the absolutely vital role that Scripture plays in our lives. God has allowed us to get a glimpse of His world His way... and what a tragedy that we stumble around in life feeling lost, when the real world is only a page turn away. We need to continue to remind ourselves of the way the world really is -- and it is a world that God has given His life for... a world damaged by sin -- but so loved by God.