I live within a closed world. At least sometimes it’s closed. Too often it’s closed.
It shouldn’t be closed at all….ever. After all, the one who created said world formed it with quite the opposite view in mind. The world I refer to is the world of my faith.
Don’t get the wrong idea, I’m not closed unto myself. It is actually the community which one becomes associated with when living within a faith context that can too easily become closed.
We can speak our own language. We have our own symbols. We have initiation rights and coded conversations. To be fair, most of us don’t realize that we’re doing it. Many that I am friends with would never seek to live in that vein. And to be fairer still, I have been part of many subcultures who act in much the same manner. In my manufacturing engineering days I existed in a culture of acronyms. Never knowing what any of these letters or designations stood for, we would pompously posture ourselves to show off our limited yet impressive sounding vocabulary. In the end, all it amounts to is words and letters representing over-priced junk.
That is why, when my present world as pastoral artist begins to close in around me and my community o’ faith, I begin to panic. The world I used to represent was somewhat meaningless in the annals of time. Every acronym ever perpetuated by that life will become obsolete even in my own lifetime and much of it already has. This world that I live and breathe even as I type these words will be eternal. Even the nonsense on this blog will outlive my past life's accomplishments in creative engineering. This current world is life and death. It’s real and important and far too often closed to those who seek it.
It is closed in by its own acronyms. It gets buried in “Jesus junk” and can be perpetuated by people who are too comfortable among their own to enjoy the creativity of the very world God has called us to reveal. In the old section of the Book of Books, God has written that His very presence and influence has been written in the skies and the earth that surround us, for all to see. He has given us an all access pass. In the new section, when observing nature was not clear enough for us, He came in the form of a baby and then through the influence of a growing presence, walking among those whom He created. Even in the midst of that we can read about others who lived by the acronyms of comfortable faith. And we also get to read of the outcomes of those choices. Read closely and once again you get an all access pass to the heart of God.
It’s a great formula actually. He writes the story, He paints the stage, and in the end He becomes the main character. That is all access. I’m sorry to say that too many of my kind have distorted the picture. We have tagged the canvas of the Great Artist, sometimes to the point that the masterpiece becomes unrecognizable. My prayer, for my part, is that I would be more of a guide and less of a bouncer. My job isn’t to check credentials. I just need to provide access.