Sunday, January 22, 2006

Walking on Water

In her book Walking on Water: Reflections on Faith and Art Madeleine L’Engle writes that we “are coauthors with God in the writing of our own story.” And proceeds to quote Laurens Van Der Post’s writing about the Kalahari Bushman: “The story was his most sacred possession. Without a story of your own to live, you haven’t got a life of your own” (165).

This is why I am so thankful our Grace Group is doing life stories every week. Not only does it help us to know each other better, it helps us to know ourselves and the role we have played in coauthoring our own life story. Certainly God is in control, but he has also given us free will to make decisions, whether to follow his will and plan or to reject them and forge our own misguided way. But regardless of how misguided we are (or how onboard we are with God’s plans) we are coauthors—cocreators—with God in this life.

L’Engle writes that cocreation is our God-given purpose. We were made—fearfully and wonderfully made—to cocreate with our creator. We were made to be makers ourselves, but never were we intended to make and create on our own, but always to partner in the act of creation with the one whose creativity sparked this world, this universe—existence itself—into existence.

But is cocreation possible if we don’t know the creator? Yes. I have been deeply moved by images of the eternal in the works of artists and authors whose lives do not reflect obedience to Christ, whose works do not reflect the eternal, except in those few places where the transcendent overshadows and permeates the temporal, bringing reality where only illusion was intended. It is a testimony of God’s sovereignty when I can only sit and wonder if the artist knew what he accomplished, what he tapped into. Though, to be honest, he is only partially responsible, since he was not the only author but rather the cocreator, though he likely never even knew it.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Myth and Reality

I’ve been reading a book by Rolland Hein called Christian Mythmakers and it has been a true blessing as it has confirmed a lot of what I have been thinking over the course of the past 9 months. One of the more powerful passages I read was something from G.K. Chesterton’s Orthodoxy. In it Chesterton writes:

“My first and last philosophy, that which I believe in with unbroken certainty, I learnt in the nursery . . . The things I believed most then, the things I believe most now, are the things called fairy tales. They seem to me to be the entirely reasonable things. They are not fantasies: compared with them other things are fantastic. Compared with them religion and rationalism are both abnormal, though religion is abnormally right and rationalism abnormally wrong. Fairyland is nothing but the sunny country of common sense. It is not earth that judges heaven, but heaven that judges earth; so for me at least it was not earth that criticized elfland, but elfland that criticized earth.”

The nature of myth as Tolkien and Lewis defined it is a story that has at its core eternal realities and truths. It allows the eternal to break through into the temporal, just as it does in reality every day. Reality is not simply what we see around us, it is the eternal present within the temporal. Any other view presents something other than reality—it presents fiction.