Keeping the Faith: There’s no substitute for the real thing

Published: Thursday, November 29, 2012 at 12:26 PM.

C. S. Lewis explained it like this: Suppose a man looks out at the Atlantic Ocean. Then he goes and looks at a map of the Atlantic Ocean. When he does that, he has turned from something real to something less real. He has turned from actual waves and salty air to “a bit of colored paper.”

Now, the map is important, because it is based on what hundreds and thousands of people have found out by sailing the real Atlantic.

And, if you want to go anywhere, the map is necessary, but it’s not the real thing. Lewis concludes that our beliefs are just like that map; important, yes, but a weak representation of the genuine.

What we believe about God is not God. These are bits of colored paper pointing to what is real and actual. Yet, our tendency is to fall in love with the map, when God wants us to love him. We are skilled at knowing the ins-and-outs of all our religious charts, but God wants us to know him. After all, we cannot have a relationship with a map. We cannot commune with a theological concept. We cannot experience creed or dogma. But we can relate to, commune with, and experience God, a God that is an ever-unfolding mystery of wonder and grace, larger than the universe.

So let’s not sit on the beach, reading the map, concluding that words and paper are all that faith is about. Instead, let’s hit the water, and with the wind in our face, we can begin to learn that merely thinking or learning about God is a poor substitute for actually experiencing him.

Ronnie McBrayer is a syndicated columnist, speaker, and author of multiple books. You can read more and receive regular e-columns in your inbox at www.ronniemcbrayer.me.


 



1 2

Reader comments posted to this article may be published in our print edition. All rights reserved. This copyrighted material may not be re-published without permission. Links are encouraged.

COMMENTS
▲ Return to Top
 

Local Faves