Monday, November 11, 2013

Fleeing self-contained certainty -2- Perspective in Motion

As I wrote, I realized that these construction materials are more about attitude toward knowledge than "things to do" ... which seems appropriate. Let's take a look at another of my church-building frameworks.

Perspective in Motion

History is full of pervasive perspectives, all skewed by human limitations. This shapes the relational complexity that comes with different individuals and groups seeing the world through different filters.

I have filters, too. I can't help it. They come from my experiences, what I have learned, what I have seen ... and I like to think some of it is a gift from the source of true insight. Yet, I try to test the gifts, too.

We use God, politics, family, culture, science, etc. to assert our positions. All are useful frames through which to view the world, but none should confine us ... even our views of God ... for who has seen him fully? We are all blind, resting small hands upon the elephant from where we stand and confidently proclaiming it is a tree, a snake, a wall, a rope....

I think God designed the Scriptures so they would make us curious without eliminating the necessity of searching this vast being, in person, to answer our questions. The written word cannot replace the speaker of Words that breathe our frame, mind, and spirit.

Growing up, far too many people saw me through the frame of a "missionary kid" and implied I must therefore be somehow holier, better behaved, set apart, complete. I was always living up to or destroying their presuppositions, and the process gave me a great disrespect for titles and labels. I wasn't myself to them, but a stereotype. They couldn't see me. Too many weren't aware enough to ask the questions that would have allowed them to come to a more accurate view of who I was, because they thought they already knew.

I see myself doing this at times. "This is what I know of you and I will respond in that light."

I've done it to Hawk, as we get to know each other ... guessing who he is based on what I've seen so far. He may have received more trust than he deserves, because I admire what I know of him. I'm waiting to find out, but it seems good to me to give others room to be their best selves.

I wonder if this is intimidating to him, and remind myself that it's important to let him know that I want him to break my frames, to be who he is and challenge me to know him and accept him as he is. He seems to understand, so far, yet I still have to stay aware and eliminate the frames, myself, also.

As a tangible example, take a moment to contrast a photograph, to video, to real life interaction. If you hit freeze-frame and leave it there, will you know the rest of the story? If you only have one camera angle, do you know what is going on off-screen? Too often, we treat our understanding of people and God in this way.

It is my own fault if I don't ask the questions that challenge my mental photograph of someone. It is my own fault if I do not move past that series of compiled frames of a first, second, third,... one hundred and twenty seventh impression into the growing, living, moving perspective of interaction.

There is incredible value in an ever-changing existence, and people can be both better and worse than I see at first. If I don't see you as you are woven through time, then I have missed you almost entirely. I may know, but it is never all there is to know. A view of anyone that always stays the same is a figment of the imagination, even when I am looking at God. Because even if God really doesn't change, I do.

If knowing a single person means I must allow my eyes to follow them as they live past any preconceived limitations or temporary observations applied, then how in all this ever-moving universe is anyone capable of containing God and the relationship between us and the universe within such a rigid constraint as our ability to comprehend? If we cannot even step back enough to view his entire artwork, then how can anyone imagine they contain a full impression of him ... and how he relates to everything?

God is vast, therefore knowing him must be far more complex than knowing a person. It feels dangerous sometimes, but I'm comforted by the thought. If I could keep him in-frame, then would he be God?