Sunday, June 05, 2005

Thoughts inspired by Ray Bradbury

Reading through the last pages of Yancey's collection of authors-review-sifu-authors (More Than Words Can Say), I was very heartened by what Calvin Miller had to say about Ray Bradbury's worldview streaming through his books.

He says: 'Bradbury warns us away from any science that leaves no room for imagination; I find a similar danger at work in some Christian circles. The gospel itself may be made harsh by precepts void of warm narrative. In spite of the fact that the Bible is filled with parables and stories, our zeal to evangelize and to encounter secular cultures with moral reform has shackled evangelicals to deadening presuppositions. These presuppositions do not kill because they are false (they are indeed true) but because they strip away mystery and process - the very ingredients of a good story. In their evangelistic intensity some Christians see fiction as a waste of time in a lost society where so many are "perishing in hell."'

Further on he says: 'Life can bear only so much reality; we need the mysteries to live. In every message that I preach, I call men, not to a scientifically reasonable faith, but to a faith which gains its power through stories - stories of God invading history through a virgin's womb and then shattering death (in defiance of more reasonable, and powerless, definitions of death).'

Bradbury, Miller claims, lifts him from the 'heaviness of earth' and helped him 'believe in a better world' by giving him a 'prospect of both goodness and hope.'

Indeed if we think and live in a closed system only of present woes and dreariness, then there is no reason for tomorrow. Not even for today. The only worthwhile reason I have for living each day is a higher reality, a prospect of goodness in every moment and hope in a greater future. We are not merely creatures bound in time and space. Standing on the foundation of the past, invigorated by the prospect of the future, we live fully in the present.

We are gifted with imagination and the capacity for immense mystery and awe. These are elements that must be present in some amount to keep us plodding on. It is the invisible rope that lifts us above the mundane and gives us forward drive.We are nothing if not for our ability to dream. We die when our dreams die.

And it seems fiction is the most powerful vehicle to "trick" our logic-locked minds into seeing afresh. Capturing higher truths, those lofty things beyond the grasp of reasoning. We need stories more than ever. Let's never lose the ability to see the story in our lives - if just to give us a sense of adventure and to live with passion.


Post a Comment

<< Home