Christianity Needs More Imagination

Imagination often gets a bad reputation these days. We tend to think it’s something only for kids. Personally, I’m committed to fostering as much imagination as I possibly can as an adult, which is why I regularly read fictional novels (it probably also explains my love for Disneyland).

I’ve recognized lately that so many of the conversations I get into about Christianity essentially boil down to how we can imagine and live out something better in light of those that say we need to return to the way things were. It reminds me of something I read from Will Mancini, “Perhaps the greatest irony is that in our efforts to be biblical we have failed to be imaginative.”

That sums up much of Christianity right now. An effort to be biblical with little to no imagination in the process. And of course, ‘biblical’ can mean anything we find in the text which allows for just about anything if you’ve ever read it for yourself (as I showed in a recent blog post on Numbers 31).

Instead, those who follow Jesus should be those who lead the way in imagining something better. Especially since we claim to follow the person who said “Look, I am making everything new!” (Revelation 21:5). Or to use the Apostle Paul’s phrase, “Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead” (Philippians 3:13).

And lest we think the version of Christianity we’ve inherited is too big to grow into the future, consider the following perspective from author Brian McLaren:

I remind myself: the universe isn’t in a hurry by human standards. It has been unfolding and expanding, diversifying and beautifying in its current form for 13.7 billion years. I remind myself: if we compressed the universe’s whole existence into one year, our planet doesn’t even form until September 11. The first forms of life don’t emerge on Earth until around September 30, but no multi-cellular organisms evolve until December 14. The dinosaurs rule the earth from December 27 to 30, and the first humans don’t appear until December 31 at 11:39 p.m. Jesus comes on the scene at 11:59:56, which means that all of Christianity has existed for a mere four seconds. Four seconds!

This means you needn’t buckle under the weight of the way things were and try to find a way to feel excited about it. You and I get to join Jesus in making things new in our context today. We are only four seconds into a story with much more to come.

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Jeremy Jernigan

Speaker | Author | Founder of Communion Wine Co.