Aslan Is Not A Tame Lion – C.S. Lewis, Imagination, and Creativity

What better place for God to lead me in my study on imagination than right into the life of C.S. Lewis? I can’t tell you how many times I watch The Lion The Witch and The Wardrobe every year. When Aslan confronts the White Witch with a simple roar that sends her reeling, I love it beyond measure and find myself rising up victoriously in my spirit.

So are some thoughts, musings, and quotes about Terry Glaspey’s book, C.S. Lewis – His Life & Thought.

 “The figure of Aslan tells us more about how Lewis understood the nature of God than anything else he wrote. It has all His hidden power and majesty and awesomeness which Lewis associated with God, but also His glory and tenderness and even the humor which He believed belonged to Him, so that children could run up to Him and throw their arms around Him and kiss Him.” Dom Bede Griffiths

C.S. Lewis used the power of image stirring the imagination to run wild. His own imagination along with humor and creativity,all  invested in Biblical truth, still ministers to people of all ages. His passion  in telling an old story, still introduces many to God. Brilliant in theology and apologetics, He did not only rely on the preached word in a formal setting to convey Biblical truth. He used His imagination.

This journey into informed imagination is something I simply can’t get away from at this time. Each day I am challenged to explore it more and more and to begin to write more in a creative way. Let’s see what transpires over time.

What sets Lewis apart from Christian philosophers and theologians, and allows him to speak so effectively to so many varied people, is his ability to communicate in a way that is creatively compelling as well as intellectually satisfying. Lewis demonstrates the power of the imagination, which has been captured for the cause of truth. (Glaspey pg. 179)

The power of imagination in writing so as to convey Biblical truth.  Lord, can I please play my part in this in some small way?

In Narnia, Lewis addressed the child in all of us. As I have said before, I see that many disdain the simplicity of this approach. Have you ever just hung around in the background on Facebook when people get involved in heavy theological discussion?  I was only a fly on the wall as I looked down the thread. What I saw was quite often arrogance and pride. It made me think about my childhood growing up strict Catholic where the Bible sat on our coffee table, BUT we were taught to never presume to read it with any understanding. Just let the priests interpret it all for us. Has it changed today? Not always.

The simplicity of childlike faith enjoined with imagination, creativity, storytelling, art, music…will draw people to Jesus Christ.

Jesus was and is a storyteller. In my own intimate times of worship and prayer, I can’t recall Jesus ever getting into a theological discussion with me. Generally it is through image and creative words, pictures and visions. It is in the walking with Him that He reveals Himself to me creatively. His life forms in my own life’s narrative as I live, move and have my being in Him.

As I look back on my Christian life, I see it is precisely at the moments when I continually release my life into His hands, following the leading of Holy Spirit, that He beckons me to take a walk with Him. In childlike faith, I accompany Him on a supernatural adventure and journey. As Bertie Brits always says on Facebook, there is much to say on this. Keep following.

Debra

In Christ, Debra

Rivers of Eden Ministry

Arise Prophetic Teachers!

Tunnel_Of_Love“Imagination is what enables us to begin to comprehend the invisible God.” Rodger Nishioka

Jesus spoke in parables. They are simple stories used to illustrate a moral or spiritual lesson. As His parables drew people into the story, the kingdom of God touched the heart and mind, along with engaging the imagination to reveal the Father. Heaven manifested on earth.

Images formed in people’s minds as Jesus preached. He spoke of doors, sheep gates, fire, wind, and lights. Jesus is the door, opening wide so that many may enter in and know the Father. Gates were meant to keep people out as well as let people in. There are so many stories peaking the imagination and stirring the heart.

Parables were a superior means of communication. While the Pharisees denounced this method, the people loved it. Images stirred the imagination to connect the heart of the Father to the people.

As a speaker, I see people connect with storytelling. Holy Spirit reveals the Word to me through study. Then Holy Spirit teaches me how to creatively bring it out. Through imagination, I embark on a journey to creatively expound that, which has been deeply stirred in me.

This is a visual generation. I believe as important as it is to preach the word, I also know that it is important to creatively express the Word – through many different methods and means. Prophetic teachers will arise to preach the word, engaging creative expressions alongside artists and musicians. They will arise alongside dancers and drama. What will be seen? A creative expression of the glory of God, orchestrated by Holy Spirit. Over the years, I have stood in this place in churches and conferences, and I can’t get enough.

Storytelling is not an inferior means of preaching the Word. It is a clear invigorating approach that reaches deep into our life, touching our mind and hearts through imagination. Storytelling enables people to enter the narrative and interact within their own heart.

The word is ALIVE. Parables and stories, along with other visual expressions of His glory through the arts, are fresh paths waiting to be explored today.

“Teach people to cultivate and discipline the imagination.” Quote from “Cultivating a Biblical Imagination.”

In the Body of Christ, creativity is springing forth from dry ground. So often, traditional religion is a safe place, being both positive and negative. While it informs and teaches through preaching the word, the Holy Spirit, the very orchestrator of heavenly expression, is left behind in favor of formality. The congregation sits as spectators, passively listening but retaining very little in the process.

Prophetic teachers will arise! Holy Spirit will breathe on the Word, making it come alive into the heart of the teacher in order to be imparted creatively to the listener. Teachers will arise with not only a listening ear but also the creativity to embrace heaven through revelation, dreams and visions, bringing it forth into the earthly realm.

Again, I would like to say that I know in part and I see in part. I write and I grow. I write and I see. Arise prophetic teachers!

Debra

In Christ, Debra

I would love to speak at your conference, gathering, church or home group. Contact me here, on Facebook or on Twitter. Enjoy reading about Rivers of Eden and the Timeline of our Life!

Story Week – Part 2/5 – A Young Man – Disengage!

Heart MonitorThe sound: “It is what it is.” A universal sound continually piercing the heart of the young man. This sound is quite subtle but also persistent. The prince of the power of the air uses sound waves to invade and impact a generation of young men. This enemy is no respecter of persons so is able to strike deep in the heart of young men. Color, culture, environment – he shows no favorites. He strikes at the heart to gain a generation, taking them captive to the darkness.

When the young man could not bear one more moment of the droning sound of hopelessness and chaos, he did what he knew to do to escape.

Disengage!

Disengage: Separate or release from something in which there is an attachment; remove troops from an area of conflict.

Put those earphones on and block everything out.

Divorce, chaos, arguing, abuse, violence in the home – Disengage!

School – an emotional war zone of bullying, rejection, peer pressure and violence of the physical type or emotional violence perpetrated on the heart. – Disengage!

Drugs, alcohol, sexual pressure – temptations on all sides!

Hand reaching upPut on those earphones and enter a world where technology conforms you to its own image, where you actually continue to lose yourself without even knowing it. This sound through music, videos or games penetrates and permeates the life of the young man, providing a means of escape from the reality of his own pain. Put on those earphones and trade one sound for another. But what’s the trade-off? The droning of “It is what it is” is left behind. What takes its place? Pulsating sounds that deify violence, rage, death, anger, and hate.

These alternative sounds consistently interject themselves into the void of the young man’s heart. A void will always seek to be filled in some way. To disengage from one sound simply means that you engage in something else.

A battle rages all around this young man’s life. The enemy exploits and uses treachery, knowing exactly what he is after – a generation of young men with a cry in their hearts. They are lost amidst a desire to be found. Looking for a genuine authentic life, they seek truth but only see lies and deception all around. This young man, one individual in a generation that is looking for the light but does not know where to find it.

Great men in times and seasons past have addressed this with words of wisdom and grace. Peter, a disciple of Jesus Christ says it like this:

Keep a cool head. Stay alert. The Devil is poised to pounce, and would like nothing better than to catch you napping. Keep your guard up. You’re not the only ones plunged into these hard times. It’s the same with Christians all over the world. So keep a firm grip on the faith. (1 Peter 5:8-9 Message)

Paul, another mighty man of God, says it like this:

This is no afternoon athletic contest that we’ll walk away from and forget about in a couple of hours. This is for keeps, a life–or–death fight to the finish against the Devil and all his angels. Be prepared. You’re up against far more than you can handle on your own. Take all the help you can get, every weapon God has issued, so that when it’s all over but the shouting you’ll still be on your feet. Truth, righteousness, peace, faith, and salvation are more than words. Learn how to apply them. You’ll need them throughout your life. God’s Word is an indispensable weapon (Ephesians 6:12-17 Message)

It is a battle. Looking from the outside in, one can often feel that we are losing more ground than we are gaining. A generation of young men finds Christianity archaic, irrelevant, powerless and boring. Like David, their hearts cry out, “Is there not a cause?”

All the while, Father God knows best. The great I AM is whispering to the young man, a better way, a more excellent way. Right in the midst of his darkness, the sound of the great I AM is whispering destiny and purpose.

More to come……

In Christ, Debra Westbrook

DebraRivers of Eden Ministry is called to challenge people to a life of creativity, revelation and intimacy in Christ. Marvin and I look forward to hearing from you, allowing us the opportunity to minister in the grace and love of Christ in your gathering, church, home group or conference.  Currently we are planning a trip to Kenya in July in which we are looking forward to establishing new relationships with leaders for a Kingdom purpose. Contact us on Facebook or Twitter for more information.

The Voice: The City of the Silent Majority

LoveAs I have said in previous posts in this series, we speak Christ, the person of Christ flowing through us to impart life and truth into a people languishing in chaos and confusion. Our assignment is to speak with wisdom and grace. We speak whom we know, not what we know.

I am setting a visual picture in this series where Voices of Truth walk in a valley, continually confronted with a variety of challenging belief systems.  We have turned from the City of Coexist and now, before us, we see another city. One can barely see it clearly. A heavy cloud cover over it makes it look grey and filled with shadows. No light shines forth from it.

It does not look very inviting and appears from a distance to be deserted because there are no sounds coming forth. How strange! As we draw closer to this city, the silence itself is deafening. We keep walking to get a closer view of what is actually going on here. What we begin to see is quite astounding but a bit confusing.

There are actually thousands of people walking around this city, silent and withdrawn. They seem to blend in with the grey atmosphere. It seems as if they are each in their own world. Hiding behind walls of protection, they walk along, occasionally lifting their heads to say “Hi! How’s it going?” or “Good morning.” Others just nod their head and keep walking. This is the city of the Silent Majority. Voices of Truth look around, dismayed and saddened. What do we say here? How do we help?

In the city of the Silent Majority, people don’t actually live, they exist. Days are filled with hopelessness, discouragement and disillusionment. They truly believe God is nowhere to be found. Feeling rejected and abandoned by God, they hide behind thick walls of self-preservation, each day going through the motions of life but not actually living. They are the by-products of dead religion.

How do we speak to them? You speak from your heart not from your head. You BE Christ to them. You never assume you understand the depth of their pain. Partner with Holy Spirit to touch them and love them. Listen to them. Cry with them.  Please don’t give pat answers that you learned in some seminar or conference. You give Christ. In this city, Voices of Truth, you will learn compassion and be humbled by it.

ImageThe Silent Majority fills the Church of Jesus Christ. Years of performance-based religion have created the Walking Dead, unable to truly believe or trust again. You are the answer, Voices of Truth, not in what you say but in what you don’t say. Just BE in Christ and follow Holy Spirit.  They grieve and mourn their own vacant lives daily. Hopelessness from delayed promises form the foundation of their life.

Are you called to minister Truth to these glorious ones? Be wise, ever so wise. Be transparent and open, choosing your words carefully. You will be transformed alongside them in this interchange of life. Speak forth love! Whisper hope! You will see God do amazing things right in your midst IF you let the Holy Spirit lead the way. Let Him do it His way. Voices of Truth, this is a journey with Holy Spirit and there is no prescribed path. Each person unique! Each situation different! Enjoy the journey!

The Voice: “Who Says?” in Coexist City

ImageRemember the valley? The castle and the guardians of self-righteousness? Read riverofeden1 if you need to review the last post. But for now, let’s look at who else will challenge Truth in the Valley of Declaration.

Stand in the valley, look to the left and see a city without borders. It’s called Coexist City. This is a place where tolerance is king and a myriad of belief systems coexist, side by side. Unlike those in the castle, there are no specific rules in Coexist City. Everything is accepted in the name of tolerance. To be tolerant is to be open-minded, accepting, liberal and indulgent.

All ideas are valued and discussed here. Truth is relative to each person’s life. Gods are fashioned from a variety of beliefs. Be careful here! Anything that even remotely hints of absolute truth presented too forcefully will banish you to the remote areas of town never to be seen or listened to again. You must walk in wisdom and grace among the people of Coexist City if you plan on speaking in Truth in Christ.

Their mantra flows through everything they say.  “Who says? My truth is my truth. Who says there is only one God? That is a bit narrow minded don’t you think? There are many ways to god.” Their talk is often nebulous and vague. You will notice that very quickly if you stay on a bit. But remember, you are presenting truth in the person of Christ, not a doctrine, an ideology, or a philosophy but a person.

ImageWhen speaking truth in Coexist City, please disarm yourself. Put away your stun gun of truth, aimed to paralyze. Just relax and breathe. Walk amongst them, have a glass of wine (Did I lose the religious here? J), and stay focused on the One who called you here. Speak with wisdom and grace. Listen and be patient. Your call here is to untangle a network of lies around the heart that prevent many from seeing the reality of the person of Christ.

Be slow to speak and quick to listen. Many of them already think that Christians are intolerant, self-righteous, and totally unaware of reality. You have nothing to prove here so actually you have nothing to lose. Breathe again. Christ in you will speak through you as you interject truth by the spirit into just the right places, dismantling lies and tearing down strongholds. And, you did it all without that stun gun.

Walk around. Get the lay of the land. Watch, listen and learn. To dismantle deception, you must learn to flow with Holy Spirit. Through words of love, wisdom and grace you will establish borders in the spirit of truth. Through prophecy, words of wisdom and revelation, you will speak the truth of Christ into their lives. The absolute truth of Christ Jesus will draw people into the borders of His love and His grace. You are just the go-between giving them a hands up to come out of darkness into the light.