Suspension of Disbelief
“Suspension of disbelief.” That’s what movie makers strive for. That state of mind where you no longer are even aware that animals don’t really talk, cars don’t explode into giant fireballs with one bullet, and most people don’t actually go from total annoyance with that obnoxious party guest to the greatest love of all time in less than two hours.
It is a useful tool for a movie maker as it allows them to tell stories in new and different ways, and to help us see truths we might not otherwise see.
Healthy movie watching requires that, at some point, we leave the movie world and remember that pugs are not really aliens in disguise and real relationships take time and effort.
Why am I writing about this as we lead up to Easter? Because I fear that we become so comfortable with this “suspension of disbelief” in story telling that we apply it to the Easter story as well. In the context of church and the Bible, we accept things that, in “real” life, simply do not happen. We talk about things like “resurrection” while we’re in church, but when we leave we may have some uplifting notion of new beginnings or the hope of an afterlife, but we remain unconvinced that God came as man, lived, was killed, and on the third day rose from the dead, leaving the tomb empty. We treat the Biblical accounts as just another exercise in “suspension of disbelief.”
The power of the Easter story is not in vague notions of new life and fresh beginnings of spring, but a risen and reigning Lord! Yes, He promises new life, but not like a movie script. What Jesus brings is real and substantial and life changing.
No “suspension of disbelief” here! This is real life!
This column appeared in the April 21, 2019 issue of St. John’s eNews. Click here for the complete issue.
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