Image There’s a Heaven, It’s Easy If You Try

I don't want to imagine there is no heaven.  I want Jesus to bring heaven to earth in his kingdom

I don’t want to imagine there is no heaven. I want Jesus to bring the kingdom of heaven to earth.

What does it mean to have a Christian imagination—to integrate faith and life in such a way that looks at the beauty of creation and culture, looks past the fallen and idolatrous ways the creation is broken, and imagines like the biblical prophets what the world might look like if people were to participate in God’s work of kingdom building?  In other words, what might it look like for Christians to pursue Christ’s plan of shalom?  I came across this passage that is cited in the book The Outrageous Idea of Academic Faithfulness:

A liberated imagination is a prerequisite for facing the future.  Consequently, we need to ask ourselves some honest questions.  Can we imagine a politics of justice and compassion in place of the present global politics of oppression and economic idolatry?  Dare we imagine an economics of equality and care in place of the dominant economics of affluence and poverty?  Can we imagine our work life to be at one with our worship—an act of service and praise, rather than a grim necessity or a means to an affluent lifestyle?  Can we imagine a society which has broken through its morbid preoccupation with death and instead truly affirms life, both at the fetal stage and in all of its dimensions?  Is a relationship of friendship, instead of exploitation, with the rest of the creation imaginable?  Is it imaginable that the mass media could b an agent of awakened social, cultural and spiritual renewal, rather than the one thing that most numbs us into cultural complacency and sleep?  And is our imagination open enough to conceive of a business enterprise that is characterized by stewardship, environmental responsibility and real serviceability, rather than profits, pollution, and the production and marketing of superfluous consumer goods?  If we cannot have such a liberated imagination and cannot countenance such radical dreams, then the [biblical] story remains closed for us and we have no hope. ~ Richard Middleton and Brian Walsh, Truth is Stranger Than It Used to Be: Biblical Faith in a Postmodern Age, 192.

This is not John Lennon, pie-in-the-sky wishing upon a star.  This is not a vision of the future where we “imagine there’s no heaven.”  This is a vision of the Bible’s description of the new heavens and the new earth.  Have you sold your Christian imagination for the truncated hope of a get-out-of-jail-free card?  Let’s wake up and read the Bible with sanctified imagination like Jesus and the prophets did!

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