This movie supplies great inspiration for the gift of imagination. It reminded me of a blog that I drafted a week or so ago about imagination, but had never posted...so here goes.
As of today we have been back in the States for 4 weeks since leaving Ecuador. Re-entry has been interesting and I (Geoff) wanted to share some of my observations since returning to my homeland.
I was born and raised in the United States, and though I have traveled and lived in many other countries, I have lived longest and been most impacted by this culture. Like it or not, my home-country is my frame-of-reference and what I use to compare other countries and cultures. I can't help it...and neither can you, really. With this in mind, let me tell you about the one thing that surprises me the most in the midst of my re-entry shock: lack of good imagination.
Imagination is having vision beyond what already exists. Imagination is what powers those who change the world; those who are able to see beyond what is, to what should and could be. Imagination motivates us and forms the reality in which we live.
Movies are a good example. What was presented as fiction 50, 20, or even 5 years ago, became reality. The innovative and new become the norm because someone somewhere had a different idea of what should be. We don't have to cook over fire, we use ovens. We don't have to find the outhouse, we have indoor plumbing. Imagination, then, is what keeps us from stagnation, allowing us to form different (and ideally, better) realities.
The biblical writers were masters at this - especially the prophets (obviously, right?). They witnessed the world of a corrupt monarchy, a hypocritical priesthood, and an oppressed nation and re-imagined what it should be. G-D is the true King. All of G-D's people are priests and are holy. Every person should be sitting under their own fig tree and vine. G-D used their imagination to help shape and mold His people, and He still does today.
Since my return to the States I have been overwhelmed by the effects that excess has on the imagination of those around me. It is hard to see past what we already have and want. This becomes a burden that keeps us from imagining greater realities.
It's wrong when our acceptable reality has shaped us to identify "first-world problems" as true suffering. Our cell phone breaks, the internet is down, the worship service didn't satisfy. Some of us have shifted our focus from G-D and others to ourselves and our desires. We can become overfed, overstimulated, and in turn, overrun.
Our personal welfare becomes our number one priority, as justified by the culture around us. Retirement funds, physical safety, and avoidance of death at all costs are consuming. We spend most of our energy imagining our own destinies and what this world and its governments can and should do for us. This is poor imagination. It creates a reality that leaves us empty and wanting. We are called to more than that, but it requires stretching our imaginative muscles.
Biblical writers placed their imaginings within the world of the oppressed. They saw a church that reached out to the poor, the orphan, the widow, and the foreigner. They saw a way in which the barriers of race, gender, and socio-economic status were obliterated. Good imagination is breaking forth ever-so-slightly in our world and in the people with whom we come in contact.
How do we receive "eyes to see"? For me, it meant a trip outside of the U.S. to redefine normal. For you, it may be as simple (and difficult) as buying "that" person's lunch, or volunteering at a local food bank. It may mean selling everything, or eating less, or making sure that plastic bottle is recycled. G-D has given you the choice; He has given you the imagination. It's up to you to discern how to use it.