The ability to ‘see’ depends on the capacity to imagine what is not there. There are people who take all they hear and see literally. They have very little imagination. They see only what is visible and have no capacity to fill the boxes in a grid with a meaning of their own or a conjecture from deep life. Like living breathing ‘Humes,’ what is real to them is merely what can be seen, heard and measured.
Materialism is the father of the varied fundamentalisms and the atrophy of the spirit. It is the mother of a demise of being that leads to an illness of the soul and the death of the mind. The plight of such a ‘realist’ is that he has lost the capacity to see and the ability to ‘know.’ Nevertheless a robust sense of self-importance will assist him to describe himself as a realist and a man of practical affairs and so of consequence.
AMBIGUITY AND LIFE
I presented something ambiguous once to Bible study group. It represented a general truth which I have long forgotten. An accountant dismissed the assumption as though it was a fantasy. I helped him ‘reconsider’ by kicking him in the knees with the assertion that many accountants could see no further than the categories of debit and credit; that they were blind to things that the most elementary minds had no trouble comprehending.
Generosity of mind and elasticity of imagination help us envisage more than what is presented by any given phenomenon. Great novels, majestic movies and astonishing scientific advances are never birthed by mechanical minds and bounded mentalities that see less than the sum of the parts. As I have mentioned before, a scarcity outlook shrinks our potential to examine the possible because we desperately absorbed in the task of ‘surviving.’ The blessing of relative abundance frees us to contemplate, imagine and envisage – a feature of human life that distinguishes us from the donkey and other beasts of burden.
SPIRIT AND LIFE = VISION
That which sets us apart as humans from the animals and from stagnant and dull examples of our species, is not a brain but the possession of a spirit – a spirit that not only defines us but is our connection to God and hence to the vision, purpose and potential of the universe. Those who are most alive are not always those who have the most knowledge or the most education, although these things are a help. Neither are they those who have the most intricate and extensive taxonomy of good and evil- the contemporary exponents of the law. They are those who have the greatest endowments of God’s spirit and life.
How did they get it? They desired His life more than anything else.
There are those who make no sense of a movie like The Dead Poet’s Society because part of this movie is about people like them and ‘the ripped out page.’ There are those who dismiss The Shack because their locked and concrete minds are too narrow to embrace truth in the fictional and in the nuance of image. In Jesus’ company they would have been annoyed at His parables because they were not black and white. They see such parables as unworthy of God because they themselves do not know God. But Religion knows them and has captured them in its net. Let’s be clear. Legalism shrinks the mind and denies the spirit of man and the Spirit of God.
LIFE IS TO KNOW GOD AND BE IN HIS SON
There are people who make no sense of Joyner’s The Torch and The Sword because their sensibilities have been shrivelled from drinking the juice of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil and they live in a grid.
There are people who cannot see the Kingdom of Jesus Christ because they have devoted themselves to erecting a kingdom of institutionalism called the church. Yet God does not dwell in buildings made with hands and today He is with all and lives in all. Jesus comes to set the blind folks free. The church Jesus builds is the multiplication of Himself. When He is our life no community can ever be a community of dry bones.
Robert Rohr observes, ‘Western rationalism no longer understands myths, and their importance, although almost all historic cultures did. We are the obvious exception, and have replaced these effective and healing story lines with ineffective, cruel, and disorienting narratives like communism, fascism, terrorism, mass production, and its counterpart, consumerism [Not to mention fundamentalism and churchism] … Whether they are exact historical truth is not even important. Such myths proceed from the deep and collective unconscious of humanity. Our myths are stories or images that are not always true in particular but entirely true in general. They are usually not historical fact, but invariably they are spiritual genius. They hold life and death, the explainable and the un explainable together as one; they hold together the paradoxes that the rational mind cannot process by itself. As good poetry does, myths make unclear and confused emotions brilliantly clear and life changing. Myths are true basically because they work! A sacred myth keeps a people healthy, happy, and whole—even inside their pain. They give deep meaning, and pull us into “deep time, which encompasses all time, past and future, geological and cosmological, and not just our little time or culture.’
The Son of God came into the world as a real man, the real God and suffered a really gruesome death at the hands of villains and criminals. This short life was the drama of the ages. Christ came in the flesh so that we can abound in the Spirit. Looking out through the rib cage of law we are unable to be human let alone become heroes. Such contractions of reality shrivel our being and suffocate our soul. This explains why a drama, a poem or movie in presenting The Kingdom of God’s Life can be infinitely more powerful than a theological discourse or a Bible study. Not only does it touch the soul and awaken the spirit with the power of myth. It is profoundly human and come from the deep well of God. It flows with the power of spirit and life!