The Second Eclectic

Technology changes how we relate to God and each other

Slow Experience

Have you ever seen a movie you just loved? It communicated ideas and evoked emotions that touched deep things in you...Ever been excited about it, then tried to explain those ideas and feelings to a friend who hasn't seen the movie? And while you're talking about it and getting excited by it again, they smile and try to understand, but you know that they are just trying to not ruin your own excitement, that they're not really getting it, feeling those things or understanding you.

I had that experience seeing a movie this weekend. When I tried to express and recreate the movie's impact, it fell flat.

For those of you who are have friends who are followers of Jesus (or you're just an outsider looking in on the faith), maybe you've seen this enthusiasm as they've tried to encapsulate their knowledge and experiences for you. They're going on and on, getting more excited, but you're just not tracking with them. That can be irritating for you and frustrating for them.

For followers of Jesus, the life of faith can sometimes be like the experience of a movie. It's not just words and thoughts and syllogisms. Conversations about those things become interconnected, creating a web of insights. The significance of those intersections can hardly be explained to someone without such a backlog of experiences and insights.

The power of a movie (or a good novel or even a personal journey) is its ability to create enough experiences for the viewer to arrive with the characters at a climax, and, there, to understand its significance because of all that's come before it.

Maybe you have a sport, an art, or an expertise that takes up your time and mental energy, it consumes hours of your life and millions of synapses in your brain. The interconnections you've made and the complexities you've come to understand, those cannot be condensed without losing their force or significance.

In the same way, the experiences of followers of Jesus cannot be condensed without losing meaning. To the followers: you shouldn't expect that of yourself. To the outsiders: you can't expect that of your friends. The only option is a slow one of experience. Only time spent involved in a journey with other followers and with Jesus himself will create those experience in all its fullest meaning, fullest significance.

But, I recommend the movie.