Christian Imagination Study – Purpose

Tonight, my small group began a series on The Christian Imagination. I just sent a version of the following to my small group:

Ultimately, this study is about faith, hope, and love and what it means to live those out. Along with that, I’d like to increase appreciation for God and the Bible, and the grand story we are all a part of. Why did God choose to pass on his truth in narrative form? Further, why did Jesus speak mainly using short fictional stories (parables) to express truth? Why is there so much poetry in the Bible? Can we break free from what our culture says and really have faith, hope, and love and make a difference? Purpose is important. What about rest and play?

I’ve spent a lot of my life trying to figure things out, studying lots of different theology within Christianity, trying to be a good Christian, desiring purpose and fulfillment. And I can’t speak for anyone else, but for me, the Christian formulas just haven’t worked. Part of the problem with formulas is that they a) may require perfection or b) don’t require God. Well, I need God and I’m not perfect. In my quest to be more perfect, well, I see that I sometimes miss grace and love, and it isn’t all that freeing. There are a number of ways I don’t measure up to various standards. The older I get, the less I realize that I know. And in my quest for purpose (which is very important to me, I might add), I have forgotten how to play and just be, and be me, and listen to my heart, and soak in God’s love, and, well, be alive, and just BE. Faith, hope, and love. Culture, even Christian cultures at times, can rob people of real faith (such as taking risks) and hope. I’ve been without hope as a Christian. Hard to have faith without hope for the future. And when I’m told God will answer all my prayers in His time, and He doesn’t seem to, that doesn’t help faith either. Imagination, real imagination, says that tomorrow doesn’t have to be like yesterday. I can imagine a future for my life that isn’t what other people tell me my life has to be. I can imagine and dream and follow this God who I don’t always understand to who knows where and live the adventure and be alive and LOVE. I don’t claim to be anywhere, but I do feel more alive today than I did last summer, and less anxious, and more hopeful. I’m finding freedom in mystery, and in learning to be who God created me to be, rather than trying to be something else I think I need to be, and in the process, finding that I’m a bit more loving. And while I’m at it, might as well try to change the world in some way…