Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Cultural Gravity

Our lives conform to a vision. If we are not intentional about fixing our vision, the world is perfectly capable of fixing one for us. There’s a cultural gravity that draws us toward a center, a center of consuming, mostly—a center of self. This is the vision we are naturally pulled toward, a default vision of self.

We start sliding this way so we buy into it: buying, envying, loathing, comparing, more buying, doubting, fearing… All these confusing, downward feelings come with the vision that has been given to us. We don’t know who we’re really supposed to be, so we keep looking around, comparing ourselves to others, buying what we think will make us realize that vision, loathing ourselves when we fail to conform to it, buying something else, moving from false vision to false vision, all spiraling downward toward an empty self, which is empty because it is detached from its true vision found only in God

It is life in the Trinity where we discover our true vision. Sprawling, colorful, electric—the Father, Son, and Spirit are the vision. It plays out differently for each of us, that’s how vast it all is—billions of differences…it could be trillions and never be exhausted, because it’s infinite, this Trinity-life. But it is an expansive vision, where the self is reductive. It moves us outward, grows us, forever.

Bondage vs. Freedom

A key difference between self-life and Trinity-life is bondage vs. freedom. To live according to that cultural gravity, we have to hold on tight. That image cultivation has to be carefully managed, meaning we literally become care-full. We have to put others in their place—either exalted or brought low as needs dictate—so we can better carve out our own place.

The desperation of it all, the grasping at control, has our fists and teeth clinched tightly. What’s really happening, though, behind the ever-tempting illusion of control, is bondage. Those clenched fists are really bound behind our backs.

The vision of the Trinity is liberation! It liberates us by grace. It is the Father who made us, not the culture, and the Father loves us desperately, and knows and wants what’s best for us. We learn to trust his love and this trust is freeing.

It is the Son who frees us, not more buying. He bought us with his own life, so there is no more we can do to get free. Nothing more we can buy, do, copy, even sacrifice. It is accomplished.

And it is the Spirit who guides and empowers us, not the dictates of cultural gravity. He guides us toward the intimacy and image of God—which can’t be bought or envied or otherwise attained. It can only be realized in the power of this love working in us. It’s there, a vision awaiting discovery, awaiting perfection.

We grow, not in goods, but in grace. Our prize is the knowledge and love of God. This is both the means and the end. Fellowship fuels fellowship as union fuels union as glory fuels glory…and it is the Lord who does this. Our striving need only be toward him, a striving toward a greater experience of freedom and a truer vision for our life.

No product, no celebrity, no job or status or riches of any kind can ever grant us such freedom and meaning and life. All one can do with a vision so glorious is to live into it…to break free from the pull of cultural gravity and to fix our eyes on God’s darkness, God’s light, God’s unending embrace. "To all who received him...he gave power to become children of God" (Jn. 1:12). Yes, here begins a vision worthy of a child of God.

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