John Milton was an old school Puritan who wrote the classic Paradise Lost. He would be 400 years old if he were still alive today. I was reading an interview with Leland Ryken, a Milton scholar and well-known Christian thinker, about this classic poem (click here for the interview, and props to Challies.com for the vine)
I found this Ryken quote interesting:
I think that Christian readers should begin by reminding themselves that they live not only by a Christian world view but also by a Christian world picture. In addition to the great doctrines of the Christian faith, we live by the great images of the faith. Milton's poem puts us in touch with the images of the Christian faith—images of Satan and hell, of God and heaven, of Paradise and original perfection, of temptation and fall, of sin and salvation.
Our Christmas musical, Esmerelda, has really affected me. I saw a picture of Jesus had never seen before. It was a compelling picture that has changed the way I view parenting, pastoring, and, well... living. I want to know that person more. He's a person I want to spend eternity with.
I had this same feeling after reading The Shack.
But this quote made me think about the "world pictures" that shape how I think and live my life as a follower of Jesus. There is power in a story, a poem, a musical, a movie that can give us a new picture of life with God.
Ryken contrasts "doctrines" with "images." I was thinking about this as I just preached on Romans 8. To me, Romans 8 is a musical called "Esmerelda." Justification, reconciliation, and adoption converge in a man helping a lost, cursed girl find her way back to her Father. It's a chapter in which words seem to fall way too short. An epic fairy tale seems more appropriate.
Maybe I should start singing and acting out my sermons in story form...