Writing to free the prisoner of one idea, crossing the bridge of paradox to truth, serving the legacies of Chesterton and Lewis who defended their faith in Christ
When I was a little girl, my grandmother took up being a Girl Scout leader and she had in her possession of camp equipment, a special flashlight. It was an odd looking thing because it wasn’t like the other flashlights I had seen as a child: it had two lamps on it, one that pointed out straight across and one that tilted down to the ground. I asked Grandma what that was for and she explained that at night it was especially hard to see. You needed to see in two directions at once. The straight beam was to guide you down the path you were walking, the tilted beam was so you wouldn’t stumble on underbrush as you walked. I couldn’t get over how smart a thing that was. Whenever we went camping, I took Grandma’s hand when we went anywhere in the dark because I knew she could see where we were going better than anyone. Thanks to that special flashlight with the two lamps.
In recent days we have been greeted by news of pandemic and of more economic collapse. Everyone has a view and each seems to have a valid piece of evidence to support it. In the face of an obvious truth to us, we can be faced at a turning towards something that seems to obscure and darken out everything we know we have seen. Our experience must be right even at the expense and invalidation of another’s experience. It is like being locked in a dark room with no windows and a large table in the center. And on that table is a large puzzle, a broad and intricate picture of seemingly thousands of disparate pieces connected together by irregular yet fluid bondings. We have no way of seeing that, no way of seeing anything except for the tiny area enlightened by the thin beam of a penlight we hold. We are locked in with our passions, so wonderful when creating things or experiencing delight, but our worst enemy when trying to see the whole truth. We move the penlight and see another area, but never the complete picture at any time. That is the sad state we are in when it comes to knowing the truth on our own. We are locked in the room with only one view at a time, “…prisioners”, as G. K. Chesterton would say,” of one idea.”
Psalm 119:105 says: “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path.” When I read that for the first time it sunk into me how God is trying to protect us. Like Grandma’s special flashlight we can see things that others can’t only when we look at them with God’s help. He “lights” up the whole dark room, this earth, so we can see what is going on about us in a new way. We may not always understand now how every piece interlocks on the table, the courses of other lives as they intertwine and touch, but we can see that there is a larger picture than at first we thought. That is God’s light through Christ, the Word, and that word has power to light our way in two directions at once. As C. S. Lewis tells us: “I believe in Christianity as I believe the sun rises, not only because I can see it but because by it I can see everything else.”
Do you and I really see what is going on around us? Someone makes a comment on a forum that has a truth in it, but is it the whole picture? That’s the critical thinking that we need to consider and God is the best critical thinker of us all: He is the only One who has the total picture of what’s happening and why. And he is the one who can set each of us free from being locked in the room and the “prisoner of one idea”. http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Luke+4:16-21