While again reading The Magician’s Nephew, the first in the Chronicles of Narnia, I was once again struck by a scene that seems to suggest some curious perspective on our origins. The book is the first about Narnia (in terms of Narnian history) and presents the creation of the world with the song of the lion, Aslan, who Lewis uses as his representation of Christ. At one point Aslan has created the entire world, then calls forth two of each animal (male and female) and gives them the gift of language. They not only have the ability to speak, but they have knowledge to speak about as if they had spent time in classrooms for years.
Foregoing the interesting connections to the doctrine of election (one that Lewis strongly opposed), it is intriguing to think about a creature, just finding itself to exist, but having knowledge and “age.” How rarely do we talk about the first chapters of Genesis and think about how odd it is that God did not create seeds and eggs, but he created plants, fish, and birds.
In The Pilgrim’s Regress CS Lewis talks about growing up and being handed a card that was covered front and back with rules. He found that there was no possibility of following all of the rules, and this set him on his journey to find what truth really was.
As I was wondering around in the forest of the Emergent Church (see part 2), I decided to follow what I believed to be God’s call on my life to serve as a pastor. I honestly thought that I had something figured out, and was ready to lead a group of people in the same direction.
My fervent determination to make a difference in the church instilled a passion for learning, and in the process was opened to a number of books and resources on church leadership and church models, which is how I was exposed to the work of Thom Rainer.
Every story has at least two sides. In part 1 I shared the dutiful reasons for my criticisms. Here is the other side of that story.
I have been on a journey of faith for most of my life. It has been difficult to say when that journey actually started, partly because it had so many eventful stops that have taken me in different directions along the way. Years ago I read The Pilgrim’s Regress by CS Lewis and it was in that reading that I was comforted to know that I was not alone. Although my journey has really not taken me too far from Christianity, it has led me down paths where I have had the honor of rubbing shoulders with people who have challenged me to think very differently about my own faith and who have instilled in me the value of being open to criticism and self-examination.
He to whom I bow only knows to whom I bow
When I attempt the ineffable Name, murmuring “Thou”…
And all men are idolators, crying unheard
To a deaf idol, if Thou take them at their word.
Take not, oh Lord, our literal sense.
Lord, into Thy great,
Unbroken speech our limping metaphor translate.
It has occurred to me that my recent posts about spiritual journey that every one is on could sound like relativistic, pluralistic dribble. On the contrary, my intention is not to support views of many roads to the same god but more to acknowledge that we are all seeking some sort of meaning and connection to a Higher Power than ourselves. Granted many attempt to cultivate that Higher Power within themselves through power and influence. And as in the classic case of the “rich young ruler,” we may dupe ourselves into thinking that are intentions are genuine only to have someone who sees our true intentions. So we are all on a search for God, although may end up creating gods for ourselves.