Luminouré – Part Two: The Word of Truth

[dropcap]I[/dropcap]t is the case that as I ponder ever more deeply the implications of knowing through the revelation of the Bible, I become more firmly convinced that it is a window into the nature of reality that I have not yet dared to look through. Or perhaps having peeked behind the scenes, I am almost ready to fully open the door and stare wide-eyed into the unknown that I have heretofore only imagined or pretended to engage with. What if this book transcends a simple set of insights into the nature of the religion that I follow to serve as a  key to understanding the nature of reality?

Certainly through span of time it covers and the diversity of its authors, it is a story of human engagement throughout history with some sort of force or being which I have come to know and worship as God. Altogether, it culminates in the historical figure of Jesus, who is claimed to be the Messiah, or the promised one of David, Abraham, and Eve. This Messiah releases to the earth the promises of dominion (Isaiah 9:7), blessing (Genesis 22:18), and restoration (Genesis 3:15) of what was lost in Eden: the place where heaven and earth are no longer in disunion with one another but intimately connected.

I guess that I understand the doctrines and thanks to my research over the past several years (presently being collected in The Choice), I could say that I recognize the implications of this story. I have chosen to believe that it is true…but I have also chosen to believe in fairies thanks to Peter Pan.

The difference between these two beliefs is too subtle, though it should probably be more striking in nature. The first of the two I believe because it explains the nature of the world around me. Without it, I do not have a measure by which my life contains any value. The second I believe because in my own imaginative world, I wish it to be the case. A problem emerges when I begin to mistake the first kind of belief for the second. I could abandon my belief in fairies were I provided with evidence contrary to their existence and it would simply take from me an object through which I enjoy some good aspect of reality. Fortunately, as things stand, no one has persuaded me against the existence of fairies and it is fun to imagine it to be so!

When this same kind of rationale pervades my belief in the story of Jesus, however, I have a problem! If my only reason for belief is having no reason to disbelieve, my faith becomes powerless to impact my life. It becomes just another lense through which I experience some enjoyment of a greater reality around me. I was in conversation with another Christian a few weeks ago who voiced a similar proposition for his faith: “As long as nothing could prove itself more worthy of my convictions and affections, I would let these be inclined toward the truth of Jesus.” [pullquote-right]”As long as nothing could prove itself more worthy of my convictions and affections, I would let these be inclined toward the truth of Jesus.”[/pullquote-right]

This sounds just like my belief in fairies – embraced until it becomes something inconvenient and then replaced with some better method of engaging with the world around me. Fortunately, no better option has presented itself. As should be logically deduced from this, there is no ‘greater reality’ to which the Christian story points. Rather, as I have so long been unwilling to confess, it IS the greater reality.

In some respects, I think it is wise to maintain an open mind toward new thoughts and ideas, but even these must have a grid or a framework in which to fit themselves. I have been processing and comparing these things to my Christian framework for awhile, but I have been afraid to let this framework really galvanize into something complete and long-lasting. Thus, it is a rather weak grid, held together loosely while growing constantly larger and more unwieldy. It would take a deep and intensely honest conversation with a close friend to reveal the reason for this unnecessary difficulty.

Although its value and function in my life has continued to grow for some time,I have not yet let the framework of my Christian faith stand in its rightful position as that which sheds light on the nature of reality. [pullquote-left] I have not yet let the framework of my Christian faith stand in its rightful position as that which sheds light on the nature of reality. [/pullquote-left] Rather, I have used it as some sort of a temporary buffer through which I interacted with some greater and unknown backdrop. I have supposed that somehow this ‘unknown’ could explain the nature of reality better than what can be know through faith, and could do so without having to argue for one particular religious value system over another. I have no idea what this ‘unknown’ might look like, but rather than embracing in full the light that I have been given, I chose to remain willingly ignorant (2 Peter 3:5). It is difficult to embrace a truth that does not look the way I want it to!  However, I realize that whatever has superseded the framework of Christianity looks increasingly like an inadequate substitute to explain the nature of reality when I compare it to the revelation I find in the Bible and my own journey with God over the past many years.

Rather than heedlessly choosing to debunk this alternative understanding of the nature of reality in order to let it be replaced by the revelation of truth in the Bible, I am beginning to test this second framework to see if it really can be all encompassing. I visualize this change like walking my entire life beneath a canopy painted like the skies overhead. Just now have begun to pass out from underneath of it to recognize that there is a much bigger sky than I ever imagined. No more mistaking the canopy for the sky, I must leave the first behind and walk through the open air. Granted, looking through the canopy of my Christian assumptions, I had begun to see traces of the sky (because they actually do reflect reality), but I was still looking through a certain lens. Now that I am out from underneath of it, I am beginning to see that the truth of Jesus is a much bigger and more powerful foundation than I had ever imagined.

2 Peter 1 continues to press upon my mind with the significance of its claim that the Bible is not just another collection of fairy tales but an attempt by certain writers to express what they had seen and observed about the nature of reality (2 Peter 1:16-18). Furthermore, the New Testament relies so heavily upon the prophecies of the Old that the two are a seamless continuation on both sides of the life of Jesus. I could argue that I have long since accepted their claims as true, but I relegated the power of this truth to the breadth of my belief rather than recognizing my belief is only one small part of a whole reality that they present.

I relegated the power of this truth to the breadth of my belief rather than recognizing my belief is only one small part of a whole reality that they present.

No more thinking that the word of God is true because I believe it, I begin to humbly recognize that I believe in something that is true, not by my own power but by the grace of God which is given to reveal the person of Jesus so that I can begin to be restored to the promises of history and the present and growing reality of the kingdom. This light has already begun to burst forth in my heart and its rays are casting tender shadows whose height I cannot even begin to comprehend. There is much more here than I had previously imagined. Something is beginning to unlock the treasure that I have long held in my hand. The seed of the kingdom, perhaps, has begun to sprout.

 

“And we have the prophetic word more fully confimed, to which you will do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts…” – 2 Peter 1:19

  • CH,

    I love the distinction you made between faeries being something which point to a greater reality, whereas Christianity IS reality, for it tells us about how the world was, and is, and what it should be.

    Your line, “It is difficult to embrace a truth that does not look the way I want it to!” resonated with me… Expectations kill, I find again and again. They kill/deaden us to what actually is (i. e. what is true and real) in our search for what we want or think something *should* be. When we find the truth to be or appear differently than we wanted it to, that doesn’t make it less true… I have a bit of a hard time remembering that.

    I’m saving your next post for another night this week (as well as a reply to your recent comment)… Thank you for corralling your thoughts to the page to be inspiration for others!

    ~ Jody

    • I think that the reference to faeries, as you might say, draws poetic inspiration from something you shared on your own blog. Thank you for holding up the beauty of imagination, not only as a reflection of what is good, but as an exercise in something beautiful.

      CS Lewis makes a similar comparison to the one you read here in his book Surprised by Joy. I find it wonderfully refreshing to observe the way in which ideas pour into my life from many sources, but converge as a single stream around the point where I need to grow.

      • I love the way one person’s ideas or art can draw more ideas and beauty out in another person. 🙂

        Yes! Your image of ideas all flowing together in a converging stream is one I want to think on a bit more… Thanks!