How we see life and the world IS how we live in the world.
Hearing God’s life-vision IS to know God’s way for life.
Doing God’s way for life IS to live truly and fully.
Please note that references in parentheses (-) refer
to books of the Bible unless otherwise specified.
“Getting” More Out of Life
Contrary to the pop-culture slogan, I’m not so sure we can just go out and “get a life.” Truth is, we each already have one – and it is what it is, for starters. Still, I think we can “get” a life-vision – though this I need to clarify more urgently. Reality is, we each already also have a life-vision – and we are living what it means, for now. The good news I proclaim, is we can “get” a new life-vision – if we need one, and want one, if we will seek one, and receive one… Now, our life-vision is a cosmic power-dynamism that defines and changes our life – so, for horrific ill if we act unwisely; for good beyond imagining if we listen and accept truly. But since we cannot avoid having a life-vision and living its natural fruits, we might as well make it a good one!
And now I suspect I have a great deal more explaining still to do. Yes, the really cosmic-scale issue of our life-vision does need – well… – more pondering, investigating, discerning, exploring, searching, crying out, listening, learning, changing, embracing, adventuring, risking, believing, hoping, and, ok, along the way, some explaining, or at least describing (when we bump into those pesty limits of human rationalism)… All this and more we naturally expect of something that is nothing less than the time-honored irreducibly-human quest of “soul searching” – a life in search of meaning, of a vision.
Write the vision,
so that a messenger may run with it.
There is still a vision –
If it seems to tarry, wait for it; it will surely come…
The righteous live by their faith.
So I urge you, in view of God’s mercy,
to offer your bodies as living sacrifices to God,
for this is your spiritual worship.
Do not conform to the pattern of this world,
but be transformed by the renewing of your minds,
so that you may discern what is the will of God
– what is good…
– Habakuk 2; Romans 12 (see NRSV, NIV).
Defining What Defines Us
So what is a life-vision, or a “worldview” as this is also often called? To grasp such an expansive big-picture dynamic, some focus on a simple metaphor: eye-glasses.1 A life-vision is like a lens. Our natural eyes provide a lens which perceives, refracts, and interprets light into our minds, to apprehend our environment. But as our physical sight often falls short, many need the assistance of eye-glasses to magnify the world or focus the light more “clearly,” hopefully to act well in time before we walk over a cliff. So also in seeking to comprehend what life in this world means, we need the eye-glasses of a life-vision, to grasp and interpret our experience – and hopefully to respond for good by what all this means. Immediately, our human culture-of-origin is all too happy to provide such glasses from our earliest age, cast in the image of its hardened human traditions (no matter how blurry-confusing that image might be)…
At the same time, quickly in trying to describe how all this works (or gets really distorted), we are confronted with the reality that such a big dynamic also reaches beyond what human rationalism can define, contain, or control. In fact, here is something functioning powerfully in our lives even before rationality kicks in to study it. I personally can provide the next related metaphor. Being physically blind, the whole lens thing only goes so far for me – not even far enough to track my Minnesota baseball Twins’ history-making record home-run balls this season. But I know when my name-partner Miguel (Sano) has smashed another one, before it gets past the pitcher’s mound: I can hear the telling crack, the instant roar of the crowd’s unified voice, and I know what this means – another home-run closer to our flight into another world series (we hope). Now that’s another metaphor, or maybe not: the Twins making the world series is a miracle, and I’m a believer!
This deserves unpacking a moment (including for any of us who see too much in our own eyes). There are experiences and realities in this world that we just cannot apprehend by sight. But there are two other profound human capacities: we can hear the voice; and we can believe. To apply this to a life-vision, Apostle Paul makes this declaration of real hope: “So we are always confident… for we walk by faith, not by sight” (2 Cor 5). To put all this together, as we walk through sight and hearing in this world, God’s biblical life-vision calls us to live by faith. Paul integrates this for us: by God’s love, live your human bodily living in this world as spiritual worship to God, through the renewing of your mind, a new life-vision, for in this way you will apprehend what is truly good in life as God intended it to be (Rom 12).
Writing and Running the Vision
The truest life-lens is God’s vision, described through the whole biblical story, revealed most fully in Jesus. This is the Godly, whole-biblical, Jesus-centered life-vision. The only voice that can initially declare this God’s love truly, tell this story faithfully, and proclaim this Jesus really, is the voice of this God. This voice is God’s biblical word-story, God’s word-become-flesh in Jesus God’s Messiah-Son, breathed and sung and declared by this God’s living Spirit. And – a wonder-filled miracle upon which our life in this vision depends! – God spoke all this through human voices and eye-witnesses of God’s work, most fully in Jesus’ human life. God speaks this way so we can hear, see, experience, and live, this cosmic life-vision of God in human ways!
So the next point of a life-vision is simple: live it! This is my passionate purpose through these blogs, to express such a vision so we can run with it: “for the journey of love” and “for the healing of cultures.” Here we come full circle to where this reflection began – now flying forward into ever widening spirals of life and hope and joy. We can explore much more in this way in times to come. Here I simply conclude for the moment by proclaiming the heart and scope of this dynamic reality. This life-vision is all about each of us personally experiencing God’s infinite love. This life-vision is all about reaching out in social relationships with Jesus’ love for every person and race. This life-vision is all about healing our cultures by this love, by offering God’s renewing hope for all human cultures in this world.
For next steps of growing into wider wisdom in this matter, here are a few exciting and readable resources for all of us:
* B. Walsh and J. R. Middleton, The Transforming Vision, IVP.
* N. T. Wright, The Challenge of Jesus, IVP.
* L. Cunningham, The Book That Transforms Nations. YWAM.
* The Question of God (on Freud and Lewis), PBS (DVD).
* J. Sire, Discipleship of the Mind, IVP.
1 I think it was John Calvin who first used this metaphor; or was it Abraham Kuyper, or others? – a helpful lens, whomever.
Readers are also encouraged to explore other posts in this series: Living Life.
God so loved the world… God is love!
Then I saw a new heaven and new earth…
and the tree of life…
at the middle of the great street of the city…
and the leaves of the tree
are for the healing of the cultures.
John 3; 1 John 4; Revelation 21, 22