In Mere Christianity, C.S.Lewis makes an interesting point about faith:
“I was assuming that if the human mind once accepts a thing as true it will automatically go on regarding it as true, until some real reason for reconsidering it turns up. In fact, I was assuming that the human mind is completely ruled by reason. But that is not so…”
He goes on to give an example:
“For example, my reason is perfectly convinced by good evidence that anesthetics do not smother me and that properly trained surgeons do not start operating until I am unconscious. But that does not alter the fact that when they have me down on the table and clap their horrible mask over my face, a mere childish panic begins inside me. I start thinking I am going to choke, and I am afraid they will start cutting me up before I am properly under.”
And here is the interesting point about faith:
“In other words, I lose my faith in anesthetics. It is not reason that is taking away my faith; on the contrary, my faith is based on reason. It is my imagination and emotions. The battle is between faith and reason on one side and emotion and imagination on the other….. “
I recently touched on this subject when I wrote a post about the Need for Truth and Beauty. I said that our hearts need to be captured not just by the truth of the gospel but also by the beauty of the Gospel. I think Lewis is saying something similar here, that our minds are not totally ruled by reason but our imagination and emotions play a significant role.
This brings to mind two questions for me.
1. “What captures your imagination?”
As we grapple and tumble on our christian walk, does the Gospel play upon the joys of your imagination, filling you with delight?
Or is your imagination filled with things that “take away your faith“? Things that weaken your joy in Christ? Things that bring about fears and cast deep shadows?
I think that was part of the reason why Lewis wrote the Narnia chronicles – it was to be read in a way that allowed our imagination to be caught in a world that speaks gospel truth. To walk and breath in a world where the Lion is not safe but good and a world where we yearn for spring.
There are other things that can point us to Christ if we let them – a hobbit in a hole, a wizard at hogwarts, a flying superhero, a jedi…
I suppose it takes us back to our childhood. Playing, imagining and feeling everything in great detail.
Can we allow ourselves to go back there?
Which leads me to the next question…
2. “Do you share the Gospel in a way that captures the imagination of others?”
I don’t think it’s enough to just speak facts or to simply preach truths without any emotion. When the Gospel is shared in the pulpit or in the living room, can it be done in a way that captures the imagination of the listeners? Is there a way of sharing this truth that isn’t dull and dry?
I think there can be.
When sharing the Gospel we want to invite people to taste and see Christ. To allow them to imagine a world with him and to cast away any fears or doubts that creep in.
We want people to see the wonder of the Gospel, to gaze into the night sky and be filled with awe at the hand who flung stars into space. To speak truths that bring people to their knees in repentance and whisper “Can this be real?” To preach in a way that fills the imagination of the listeners with joy, wonder and a deep longing.
Then invite them to the table to eat, drink and truly taste and see that what has captured their imagination is the greatest reality of all.