You and I aren?t called to be people who suspend our disbelief. We?re created to be people to live lives that are beyond belief.
We?re called to be incarnational people who are manifesting the realities of heaven everywhere we go and in everything we do.
I remember seeing the trailer for the first Chronicles of Narnia movie several years ago. They were doing some pretty incredible things with CG that hadn?t been done before. But as I watched the trailer, I still thought to myself, ?Those creatures look rather cartoonish.? The technology was far from believable up against live actors and stellar makeup and prosthetics. The disparity kept me conscious of my world?full of animators, and computers, and ones and zeros?and kept me from fully entering into the universe of Narnia.
When poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge coined the phrase ?suspension of disbelief? in 1817, he was imposing an obligation on the creator of a work. Taylor was suggesting that the author has a responsibility to create a cohesive world that invites the reader in unencumbered. Somehow, today, the phrase has shifted from a burden of the writer to a burden of the audience?that audiences should be willing to overlook flaws in a story or created universe or even the obtrusive nature of poor technology or a lacking effect and simply believe what the artist, lazy or underdeveloped as they might be, puts before them.
Good art causes us to confront the unseen, deeper realities of our universe, but it does so by creating a believable alternate reality.[quote]Good art causes us to confront the unseen, deeper realities of our universe.[/quote]
Art fails to fully achieve its goal when it falls to transport us. Errors, poor performances, lack of preparation; these things become walls that lock us into consciousness of our reality. We?re kept out of the world of the work, and the work isn?t as effective as it could be.
For a long time, the Church has lived in a state of suspended disbelief. So often, we?ve traded a life of supernatural power for a conveniently packaged faith. In our desire for convenience and control, we surrender the flexible life of the unknown. But it?s in the unknown, mysterious places that we discover depth, intimacy, and unbelievable things.[quote]It?s in the unknown, mysterious places that we discover depth, intimacy, and unbelievable things.[/quote]
I know for me, it?s far easier to wake up and check my social media feeds than it is for me to engage spiritually with God, to take time to listen and strategize about my day. As I go about my day, it?s more comfortable to keep my headphones on and shut the world out than it is to listen to the voice of the Spirit and be conscious of opportunities to reveal the heart of God. My chosen course forces me to suspend my disbelief about what?s possible because the actions of my life are so often out of alignment with what I say I believe.
We should be going after unbelievable things, and we should believe them because we see and experience them.
Paul, in his letter to the Corinthians, said, ?My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit?s power.?
I love words. I spend much of my life communicating through writing, speaking, and music. But in all of those things, I?m called to pour forth the Kingdom of Heaven. You and I are meant to go beyond what we can accomplish on our own and live a life empowered by the Spirit. The words we speak are to be accompanied by the overflow of the Spirit of God living in us.
We?re meant to create an alternate universe, not just pretend one exists.[quote]We?re meant to create an alternate universe, not just pretend one exists.[/quote]
Jesus taught us to pray, ?Thy Kingdom come. Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.? That wasn?t a pipe dream. Jesus wasn?t joking. In fact, God is quite serious about accomplishing His agenda of delivering the realities of love, joy, peace, health, life, and thriving to the world. So serious, that he sent Jesus to tell us about it, and then gave Jesus as a sacrifice to make it so. And before Jesus ascended into heaven, he reminded us of this charge:
?Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.?
Jesus isn?t talking metaphorically. He?s being quite literal. ?You saw me restore sight. You saw me deliver the afflicted. You saw me raise the dead. Now it?s your turn. And, by the way, all that stuff is just the beginning.?
The alternate reality you and I are here to create is that of heaven. Moving from a suspension of disbelief is contingent upon our willingness to risk. Too many of us want to believe. More of us need to believe.
You hold the keys to the Kingdom of Heaven in your hands, and it?s time to unlock the unbelievable.[quote]Jesus performed signs and wonders for one reason: to reveal the loving heart of the Father to the world.[/quote]
Jesus wasn?t interested in convincing anyone of anything with his signs and wonders. Jesus performed signs and wonders for one reason: to reveal the loving heart of the Father to the world. The result was deep belief. As you and I live into the fullness of our lives in Christ, we too reveal the heart of God for the world around us. Our lives are no longer built on convincing people (or ourselves) to follow God through crafty language. As we live in intimacy with God and reveal the realities of heaven, we?re immersed in a sea of belief that is beyond what we could ever muster on our own. Our disbelief isn?t suspended. We step into an entirely new realm of what?s possible.