Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Fiction: Friend or Foe

when i was a little girl i went to sunday school. sometimes i even wore a bonnet. i remember being told fantastical stories about heroes, miracles, floods, and fires. i remember the colorful felt board that was somehow supposed to transport me, via my 5 year old imagination, into the the world of biblical times. i remember being told that there were 2 of every kind of animal on Noah's ark. i also remember being told that in heaven there were streets of gold and that we each got a mansion and maybe, just maybe, we'd be able to fly! i remember my favourite hymn was "I'll Fly Away". it's not that i was altogether anxious about the proposed rapture, but more that i had much interest in flying:) and if there was flying in heaven, then that's where i wanted to end up. i also remember, like one would remember a near fatal car accident, the day that i read the story of the Great Flood and found that there were more than just 2 of every kind of animal... way more. and then to add even more devastation... noah got drunk! i also lost interest in heaven when i realized that the ability to fly wasn't promised. "i'll get there when i get there", i thought. i just wasn't in any hurry. those are only two examples of my personal discovery of truth after being fed fiction.

my life has been a journey of uncovering mystery after mystery... pursuing truth and pursuing God. why do we adapt, simplify, or even sometimes offer half truths when sharing God's Word? there is an interesting debate to be had on whether Christ actually broke-down the Gospel or made it even more mysterious by speaking in parables. i side with the thought that he added to its mystery. God seems to like words like "reveal" & "revelation". He seems to move in "mystery". mystery provokes action and it taps into the "hunter" side of our humanity.

when i was very young my parents purchased a bible for me. it had my name embossed on it in gold and i was asked what color bible i would like. i went with the pink Precious Moments bible. my next bible was a Cambridge King James... fancy shmancy. after that i purchased, on my own, a NIV Thompson Chain Reference bible. and then lastly i purchased the Message Remix, lol! for the record, we had a lot of bibles in the house. my mom was the top bible salesperson at the local religious bookstore & my dad worked for the international bible publishing company, Editorial Vida. we had loads of bibles. my parents also encouraged me to read my bible. if i had questions, they would tell me where to look and read it for myself. they had their answers and i was prodded to get my own. as my brothers and i grew older we had more and more questions. "the preacher said blah blah blah, but my bible said blah blah blah." "Daddy who's right?" my dad had a degree in Bible and my mom had a deep love for it... both of my parents, in essence, were devout truth seekers and they passed this on to their children.

i often feel that a majority of those that are in management of the church fear the notion of truth being revealed, if truth is not being fed straight from them. do they fear that if we read Malachi we may see what is actually being stated? or if we read Acts we may see the layout for what a church truly is? can we not handle how many animals were really on the ark? could we not digest the possibility that heaven may be very different than what we've been told? this is the sure thing, the foundational truth, and upon this all other portions of truth find their rest... that Christ is the Son of God and through Him, salvation is ours. the bible says in 1 Timothy 2:4 that God wants all to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. whether we read truth or are told truth, we are afforded the beautiful yet quite painstaking journey of knowing truth. we must come to know it. this takes effort. this takes hunger. this takes time.

christians should speak truth and point to truth so that all may come to know what is truth. fiction may be easier, but it sets us up for mistrust. fiction may seem more clean cut, but it is the messy mystery that truly makes the miracle. fiction is our foe and truth is our freedom.

Psalm 25:4-5


I Began in Innocence said...

sitting, reading, tired of my day, i ponder those days so many years ago... and weep with a grateful heart that bible written and read was the central resource of our journey for truth... messy and mysterious is beautiful - as is The Christ! thank you again, dear sweet daughter!

Anonymous said...

Great message Julia. Thanks to your mom, I've loved challenging what I'm told to believe and what I've chosen to believe.

I mistakenly thought that what everyone loved. In reality, many feel threatened by that. Yes, I have a degree in Bible, and I've taught it to others, but I could be wrong on some things. I think there's a 100% possibility.

So I believe strongly what I believe, but I'm also sensible enough to know I should be open.

People don't want to think that our faith is a lifelong process, that we've arrived at the end. Thanks for your challenge, and don't stop seeking. :-)


tither of innovation said...

there is really so much more that we could write on the subject of fiction in the church.
John, your humility humbles me. i know that what has been revealed to me has set me free, but there is much that i also do not know. and thus the thrill of the hunt;) Mom, you have taught me that the truth is our foundation. our lives, our hope, our salvation, our purpose, our existence must rest firmly on truth.

“Unthinking respect for authority is the greatest enemy of truth.”
Albert Einstein

J.SWO said...

btw...John was our "Youth Pastor" back in the day. I love that he was willing to accept that he may not know everything and embrace the journey of truth seeking. I love that he is still a valuable part of our lives even 20 years later.

Pastors, (he will probably humbly disagree) you should be more like John. Embrace the not-knowing...Embrace the mystery.

Fictio cedit veritati (fiction yields to truth).