Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Spiritual Rhythms of Life for Today

Imagination expands our lives. It helps us to understand God, the world, and ourselves. No doubt fear of imagining wrong things in the Christian tradition has led to smothering and sedating imagination, as much of what we see and do has a greater connection with ugliness, than a vision of beauty. So many have been scolded and told – it’s all about following the rules and regulations, get in line, conform to the status quo, as if creativity and imagination are somehow always connected to the unreal. There is nothing less at stake here than humanness – being a creative, imaginative, rational, sense observing, feeling, experiencing and participating, beauty maker. Marginalized artists, poets, story tellers, and musicians, who have been forced to the edges of their churches or completely out of them, have come to Swiss L’Abri over the years. They literally weep when they are told they belong, have a key place, and are not required to paint crosses, recount a story with the name Jesus in every other line, or compose a syrupy chorus that has nothing to do with reality.

The mega story in the Bible, the deliverances of the natural world, and truer selfhood, however, give us a framework from which to be creative and imagine - a story of healing and redemption in the midst of ugliness, where God created, and in the twinkling of an eye, raised Christ from the dead, evoking a stream of new life that invites each of us to come as we are and to participate in the renewal of creation, as we follow the Crucified and Risen One. Re-imagining the Christian faith in the light of the mega story is crucial for our engagement with the world, each other as community, and the cultures in which we live. Imagine what the new heaven and earth are to be like and live that with love, grace, and fortitude, telling good stories – as a good story in that it reflects truth, is like the gospel.