Last week I posted a couple of articles that deal with our perception of reality and how it is manipulated by the education of the secular world. There are other forces too that shape our view of reality, not least the creative arts of music, art and more and more TV and the internet which are as much creative arts as our traditional perceptions of art and music. As I was thinking about this I was reminded of an art exhibit I visited when I was last in Australia.
The art of Ron Mueck is incredibly lifelike and when looking at it in a photo or video you think you are looking at a real person
And then you see the real thing.
I find Ron Mueck’s sculpture fascinating, not least because of the reminder that reality isn’t always obvious it can depend on where and how we see something. Ron Mueck began his career as a model maker and puppeteer for children’s TV and films helping us to imagine that make believe is real.
As I watched this video showing how Mueck makes one of his sculptures I was struck by how much work went into making an imaginary world look real and it occurred to me that we do the same thing in our lives. Many of us live in imaginary worlds where life revolves around us and our needs. Pain and suffering, the destitute and the dying don’t exist in this world.
Even many Christians have I think created imaginary worlds that revolve around a very self centred and hedonistic view of faith. In its extreme form we end up with the prosperity gospel where Jesus is there to provide us with health and wealth, but unconsciously, even those of us who don’t believe in the prosperity gospel, buy into the imaginary world where faith provides a free pass away from the suffering and pain of the world. But this imaginary world, like Mueck’s sculptures, are sooner or later shown to be unreal.
The real world of the gospels is an uncomfortable world for those of us who are well off to live in but it is worth uncovering and moving into:
God blesses those who are poor and realize their need of him for the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs
God blesses those who mourn for they will be comforted
God blesses those who are humble for they will inherit the whole earth,
God blesses those who hunger and thirst for justice for they will be satisfied
God blesses those who are merciful for they will be shown mercy
God blesses those whose hearts are pure for they will see God
(Matthew 5:3-8 NLT)