“Thank you for sharing the gospel with me.
I want to share something with you. I know you will find it almost impossible to believe me, but I will share it anyway.
I know the God you are talking about. I understand the relationship you have with him. I understand the Holy Spirit that indwells you. I understand the Jesus you know. I understand your prayer life, how your soul is uplifted in worship, and how in God you find solace, redemption and grace. I understand the ways in which you see God at work, in the miraculous and the mundane, in scripture and the spiritual realm. I get it. I really do.
I am not behind you in this journey, fumbling to keep up, catching only glimpses of light ahead. I’ve come through the half-light where you are, and gone beyond, into the sunshine. Like you I was once convinced that we can now see only dimly, as through a mirror. But I am here to tell you good news of great joy: the dim mirror is a damn lie. The real world is bright and vivid, full of colour and texture, if you can set down the clouded mirror and turn to see it.
You are trapped in the world of a story. By focussing everything on that story, you’ve made the mythology into your reality. You have constructed an idol to worship: a base idol, made of words and doctrines rather than stone and metal. And, like Demetrius, you are consumed with its defence.
You hear the story, but do not understand what it signifies. Every conclusion you draw, every experience you have, is expressed in terms of the story, you mentally can’t go beyond it.
I know this because I too have been there. But I woke from this spirit of stupor, and so can you.
Let me suggest you read the bible again, more carefully this time, and in some detail. Given the season we’re fast approaching, read the two birth narratives of Jesus side by side, and try to understand what is going on.
It is hard, I know – your mind will keep being drawn to the surface things. You will be tempted to think always in terms of the world that is portrayed, to think about what it tells you about the character of God. I fear that you may just glide over things of significance, because you have been trained to do so. You’ve been taught to listen for the voice of God. That is hindering you, because that is still part of the narrative. It brings your mind always to the surface, with the illusion that you’ve been somewhere deeper.
But it is worth the attempt. Please try it. Take it slowly. Try to hear the real voices behind the story. Try to understand what they are saying and why. Listen to their tone. Use your intuition. Hear the echoes of the words that were not written; and feel the narrative rise under your gaze until you can see its naked form, and finally comprehend it.
You might not be able to do it. Not everyone can. Many who come from deep indoctrination just cannot. All they see is the superficial layer. They can never see the why, the how, the where. But maybe you can. I hope so.
I fear, though, that you won’t even try. That you’ll merely dismiss everything I say. Or decide that I’m simply lying, or ignorant of the true nature of your faith, or deluded, or stupid, or a tool of Satan seeking to attack you. If you can never even wander from that fortress of certainty, then I’m afraid you are truly entombed within its walls. You are condemned to live your whole life in twilight, convinced it is noon.
I can only hope that you can find any spark in you to try. Really to try. Not to dismiss, or to try with a condescending amusement. But to really try.
Even the effort may not be enough. There is no guarantee of success. I’ve seen some who’ve tried and failed, though most shun even the trying. But if you do, and do succeed, it will truly be the best thing you ever do.”
– edited from my response to an evangelistic commenter on this thread. Those of us who have seen the light should encourage those still lost in the darkness, right?