“When it comes to communicating the truth; Westerners drift more toward propositions than to artistic expression.”
The animal exhibits at the zoo do their best to emulate the scenery and sounds of wildlife. They do their best to take you to a place of discovery; however, the manufactured sets, loudspeaker rocks, panned bird songs, and painted images fall short of the true wild and untamed beauty of the wilderness.
I watched the Humboldt penguins swim and stare in the Living Sea exhibit and thought: “This isn’t living. The wind has been manufactured and the cormorants have limited space to fly!” I then thought about worship. In our churches on Sunday mornings, many do their best to capture the essence of God. We try to bring a little heaven to earth through our manufactured sets, finely tuned messages, and slick presentations; however, we fall short of fully encompassing God, His glory, his wildness and grace. We do our best.
But herein lies, where I believe we fail. We want everything to be exact and so we try to “perfect” everything about God. To make Him known, we concoct our own image of a grand and glorious God and cage him into our view of Christianity or life. We leave little or no room for mystery and awe. We think the Bible must have an exact answer on every issue and so we force the Scriptures to fit into our way of thinking or cultural and societal ideals. When someone disagrees, they might be considered lost or liberal. “We read our preferences into the story.” We’ve tamed a wild and inspiring God in attempt to bring Him to man. An honest endeavor in capturing his essence and interpreting His words of wonder may lead us to a limited and caged view of God and others. I’m not saying that all of our illustrated images are false, but we should consider the possibility that we might be inhibiting the Creator’s mesmerizing artistry when we try to put God in a box.
“What can be more dangerous is that our mores (our customs, practices, conventions) are a lens through which we view and interpret the world.” Is it possible then that our Western ideals and displays of masculinity fall short? This what I’m endeavoring to examine and share on my blog MALE FAIL? Follow my new blog HERE.
All quotes come from the book “Misreading Scripture with Western Eyes” written by E. Randolph Richards and Brandon J. O’Brien
Photos taken on 7/26/14 at the Brookfield Zoo, Chicago, IL