One – The Road To Sonship
“These people who have been turning the world upside down have come here also…” Acts 17:6 (NRSV)
Did You Ever Stop To Think That The World You See Is Not The Real World?
When I was growing up things in the world did not seem to be what they ought to be. My formative years were in the late 1950s through the mid 1960s. As a young boy I did not understand war. It did not seem right that people would lie, or be bullies, or steal. The whole idea of the world economy was perplexing. Trading ones time, the only absolutely unique item in the world, for little bits of silver, gold, or worse yet pieces of paper was certainly foolishness at its worst. I wondered about friends whose parents were no longer together. I wondered about the people I had seen in the big cities living on the streets. Later when the slogan, “make love, not war” began to circulate it seemed to make sense (even though I did not at first know what “make love” meant.) When President Kennedy was killed that day in Dallas it blew my mind. Later, we were driving from New York City to the World’s Fair in Montreal and Detroit was burning as we listened on the car radio. I just knew that things were out of whack. That was the year before Bobby Kennedy was shot in San Francisco, and Martin Luther King, Jr. was gunned down in Memphis. A year after that I was marching for peace in Seattle. (The war we were in at that time was in Vietnam) I watched helplessly (a coward, afraid to step in) as police bludgeoned friends to the pavement with nightsticks. Our only crime was watching folksingers sing their prayers to heaven, and to those in power here on earth, pleading for an end to the worldwide insanity of war. At the same time much of the forest in Washington State was being replaced with acres of parking lot and people were busy walling in their communities to keep the undesirables out.
I knew that the world was terribly wrong and not as it should be. I talked with my dad about this and he dismissed me, telling me that I was young and eventually it would all make sense. After months of these talks I believed him. He was successful, very educated, very smart. He must know and understand something I didn’t. He told me my idealism was childish and, well I guess, I grew up.
Kyle Idelman, a Pastor and Bible teacher in Louisville, Ky[i] I follow, tells this story. He relates:
“I was reading some research… that was done by a man named George Stratton, and it was research that was done in the area of perception. He did this experiment where he created these lenses that he put over his eyes, and it caused him to see everything upside down. Think about that for a moment. It just inverted everything that he saw. He wore these lenses for a number of weeks to just kind of record the effect that it had on him when he sees the world upside down. Since then there have been a number of other people—I guess scientists—who have done a similar experiment where they put these lenses on and they’ve seen everything upside down for a period of time. You just think about what that would be like. The sky would be at your feet, and the grass would be above your head with the trees hanging down. Cars would be driving over top of you, and when you pour your coffee it would go up. I mean, everything is just upside down.
But, as they did these experiments, they found a surprising fact. While at first it was awkward and it was uncomfortable, after awhile they got used to it. After awhile they adjusted to it, and at some point they stopped seeing things upside down. It didn’t register to them that it was upside down. They adjusted. So they learned how to read and write upside down. One guy talked about learning how to ride a bicycle seeing things upside down. At first it was tough; at first it was uncomfortable, but eventually they learned to see the world through this set of upside down lenses.”
It is amazing that a person can adjust to this kind of distorted perceptual experience and even acclimate to the distortion so completely that they are ultimately able to function normally.
This experimental exploration of perceptual reality makes me want ask a question… Ask yourself this;
“Do I accept the world as being normal?
Are the injustices, and the wars, and the violence, and the broken relationships, and the starving people, and the lies, and the corruption that exists in government and business, just the way things are?”
It appears to me that we all accept things like the topsy-turvy world economy, like the ever present wars, like crime, and divorce, and the business scandals, and corruption in the government, and people cheating on their spouses, and children going hungry, and, and, and… we shrug it off and say to ourselves, “wish it were different, but that’s the way it is. That’s the way it always has been.”
Could it be that you and I have some, perhaps spiritual, version of the glasses used in the experiment Kyle talks about placed invisibly in front of our eyes distorting everything around us into something that it isn’t, something upside-down?
We need to know the answer to this question. The answer has the power to alter our entire worldview. The way we live our lives is a direct result of the answer to this question whether we have consciously asked it or not. So lets take a look at some clues into the nature of reality – Is reality what we see, and touch, and hear, and smell, and taste? Or is reality to be found somewhere beyond the realm of our experience
First, before we go any farther, I must tell you I am using the Holy Scripture of the Christian Bible as the primary resource in this search for truth. If you do not believe the Bible is one hundred percent true then you do not need to read any further. We are not going to take the time necessary to prove the veracity of The Scripture. If you have doubts, get the doubts settled first and then come back to this. (you may email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with your questions and I will do my best to get them answered. I know a bunch of people who know a lot of answers that I can talk to so fire away.)
We Do Not Live In The World God Created
Bold statement. If true it is vitally important that we know it. I believe that knowing the truth of this statement will change our lives in, as yet, unimagined ways. So lets see if you and I can find out, did God create the world we see today or not?
I will begin this search for reality in Genesis Chapter One through Four. So I suggest you read ahead. NEXT POST HERE will be sometime between now and next Wednesday morning. Check back or sign up for the RSS feed.
Robert Curtis, activist, the ichthysgeneration, santa rosa beach, fl
[i] Southeast Christian Church, 902 Blankenbaker Road, Louisville, KY