Thursday, May 3, 2012

Disney, fantasy, faith, reality

The Disney Magic on a soggy afternoon
The funniest moment on the cruise had to have been when the Disney Magic tied up on Castaway Cay. The day was overcast and rainy. Perfect photography weather (as you can see by the vibrant colors) but not exactly primo recreation conditions. Rebekah and I got off the ship and hiked in for lunch, just so we could have a look around and enjoy some barbecue. We didn’t stay long, however, because we were drenched and chilled.
So we took the trolley back. Then, just before reaching the ship, the driver clicked the intercom. “Thank you for visiting our island paradise,” the voice said. “It’s easy to misjudge the sun out here, so stop by the health clinic if you’ve burned too much. If the top of your feet are sore, just soak them in some cold water before dinner….”
We laughed out loud. At first I thought the guy was being funny by design, but then I realized it was a pre-recorded track, activated automatically at a certain point. And I remembered how scripted Disney is, and how reality seldom if ever follows any predictable pattern.
The bottom line with Disney is – when fantasy and the real world don’t agree – stick with the script regardless.
Rainy with a 80% chance of reality
FAITH AND FANTASY: It made me think about one of the fundamental problems with the way some people engage a life of faith, as well as the way some preachers sell the product.
There seems to be this constant conflict between what the script(ure) says: “Rejoice in the Lord, Always,” (Philippians 4;4) “I came that they may have life, and have it to the full,” (John 10:10) “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself,” (Matthew 6:34) and the reality that is day-to-day life: depression, boredom, anxiety, conflict….
I’ve heard preachers say (and I’ve heard this from countless Christians and read it on-line in a dozen formats) that the important thing is to stick to the script, to believe in spite of the facts, to “name-it-and-claim-it” regardless of the evidence, because:
  • if you’re not healed it’s because of your lack of faith;
  • if you’re still in debt is a failure of belief;
  • if you’re not happy all the time it’s because God isn’t blessing you;
  • And if God isn’t blessing you it’s because we’re not holy enough, good enough, righteous enough, spirit-filled enough or whatever enough…..
Stormy weather at the Bahamas, too
I JUST DONT BUY THIS: My personal walk with God – and it’s a relationship that is growing day-by-day as I spend more deliberate time in God’s presence, study the scriptures more completely, worship in a faithful community, and “do life” together with small groups of fellow pilgrims – is teaching me that the LAST THING God wants from me is a “keep to the script” facade where A) I pretend that life isn’t anything like it really is, and B) God pretends that I am a spot-on perfect disciple who doesn’t really need Jesus.
No, the whole point of Jesus as companion and guide is that God meets me where I am, that neither one of us pretends anything, and that – sometimes – the sun doesn’t come out for days.
With my Grandson, David, in Key West. Another relationship that will only grow in the realm of reality…
OKay, I’ve exceeded the 500 word mark. So that’s enough for today. Words to ponder, I trust. So what are we going to do with this honest relationship God is forging, through Jesus…. and where will it take us from here?
You, Lord, are my shepherd.
I will never be in need.
     You let me rest in fields
of green grass.
You lead me to streams
of peaceful water,
     and you refresh my life.
You are true to your name,
and you lead me
along the right paths.
 I may walk through valleys
as dark as death,
but I won’t be afraid.
You are with me,
and your shepherd’s rod
makes me feel safe.
 You treat me to a feast,
while my enemies watch.
You honor me as your guest,
and you fill my cup
until it overflows.
 Your kindness and love
will always be with me
each day of my life,
and I will live forever
in your house, Lord. (Psalm 23)

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