Wednesday, April 27, 2016

It's bigger than you think

One thing I have noticed in my discussions with a couple atheists is... they're really much smaller thinkers than I'd imagined. I always thought atheists were generally more intelligent than your average person - and these people are - but I'm surprised at how narrow minded they seem. I doubt that they would see it that way, but that's how it appears to me.

I am still reading Eugene Peterson's 'Eat This Book: A Conversation in the Art of Spiritual Reading,' and in chapter 5 he talks about the "immense world of the bible." He says this on p. 67-68:
As we cultivate a participatory mind-set in relation to our Bibles, we need a complete renovation of our imaginations. We are accustomed to thinking of the biblical world as smaller than the secular world. Tell-tale phrases give us away. We talk of "making the Bible relevant to the world," as if the world is the fundamental reality and the Bible something that is going to help it or fix it. We talk of "fitting the Bible into our lives" or "making room in our day for the Bible," as if the Bible is something that we can add on to or squeeze into our already full lives.

As we personally participate in the Scripture-revealed world of the emphatically personal God, we not only have to be willing to accept the strangeness of this world -- that it doesn't fit our preconceptions or tastes -- but also the staggering largeness of it. We find ourselves in a truly expanding universe that exceeds anything we learned in our geography or astronomy books.

Our imaginations have to be revamped to take in this large, immense world of God's revelation in contrast to the small, cramped world of human "figuring out." We learn to live, imagine, believe, love, converse in this immense and richly organic and detailed world to which we are given access by our Old and New Testaments. "Biblical" does not mean cobbling texts together to prove or substantiate some dogma or practice that we have landed on. Rather, it signals an opening up into what "no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man conceived, [but] what God ... has revealed to us through the spirit" (1 Cor. 2:9-10).

Woe. Yeah. I'd never really thought of it like that. The world through God's eyes is so much bigger than we can ever imagine. So it only stands to reason that the world through the eyes of those open to the things of God is so much bigger as well.

The frustrating thing is - I don't know that you can get someone to see the immensity of the bible, or God for that matter, if they aren't open to it. As Peterson says on p. 69, "If we have not entered this text as participants we aren't going to understand what is going on." I would agree. So... all I can really do is participate myself, and continue the journey through this huge world of spirituality in hopes of one day taking it all in.