Thursday, January 24, 2013

Virtual Unreality

Did you know that Legos is a video game?

Apparently, it is a series of video games with all different characters and adventures and things to do and stuff to see and virtual things to erect.

It makes me kind of sad, if you want to know the truth.  Ok, very sad.  Because Legos are something that shouldn't be an adventure; Legos are a creation.  The adventure comes when you are able to walk through your creation, to make up stories to go along with it, to wind new paths and build new structures and expand and expound on this crazy idea that you came up with in your own head and turned into reality with your own hands and it's not always pretty (I've been playing real, traditional Legos with the niece and nephew), but it's yours.  And somehow, you make it pretty.

And while there is something to be said for not having the unpleasant surprise of stepping on a virtual Lego, it's just a little hard to swallow that we live in a world where your Legos are now someone else's story and you're just playing along.

Then there's the current Beyonce drama.  Did she or did she not sing live at the inaugural ceremony?  A debate for the I care.  It's just that we seem to be a nation torn between those who have embraced this kind of virtual unreality - that one could sing without singing and be credited for the moment - and the purists who invest in something so real as being present for the moment.

Progressively, we are becoming a society of virtual unreality where the fake opportunities mimic the once-upon-a-time real wonders of our tangible universe, and though we can't put our fingers on it (literally), something about the digital world speaks to us.

It's easier, we say.  It's cleaner.  It's more constant.  It's quicker.  It's more stable.  It's more safe.

And yet, in the grand scheme of things, it's a lot less than anything.  It is so much less than anything that all of our unreality is virtually nothing.

Can you smell a digital rose?  Feel the blades of digitized grass beneath your feet?  Does the light from the television warm your face?

It is true perhaps most in relationships.  Does your interaction with a friend or loved one through Facebook or twitter or email make you content for things to stay that way?  Or does it increase your longing to really love them, to embrace, to stand in the driveway and talk for awhile, to share a real cup of coffee and maybe a biscotti?  

The further we get from actually touching our world, the more this desire builds within us for something to be real.

The same could be said of our God.

We have created this God that is kind of "out there" and "up there" and "somewhere" but "not here."  We have created this God who is more a figment of our imaginations than a friend whose hand we could actually hold.  We are content to have Him in this other-worldly realm where He's not really something we could put our finger on, but when the time is right and we have a few moments, we plug in and start playing in His story.  Which isn't a story we feel like we're part of creating any more, so much as some holy world we're walking through in a leisurely moment, just to escape from this one for awhile.  We are content to create Him and give Him tomorrow while pretending this is our moment today.

Call me a purist, but I believe in more than that.

I believe if we want to have a God, if we want to have this God, if we want to believe in Him and live our lives by Him, then we have to get Him out of the clouds (or the cloud, for you digital-agers) and get our hands on Him.  We have to go old-school and dare to imagine our own story, something we collaborate with Him and build together.  Something we put our hands to.  A journey with God that we can actually walk through, wind new paths and build new structures and expand and expound on this crazy idea that there is a God not "out there" but "right here" who is building and creating and imagining right beside us and that although it's not always pretty, together we somehow make it pretty.

I believe we have to be willing to sing today, out loud, and take the risk that our voice might crack or we might forget the words or the wind might blow or the mic might cut out.  I believe that we have to engage in the opportunities before us and actually live them because I'm just not content with the idea of an out-there Godosphere where we talk about a God who says He is with us and then we dare not take Him at that word.

I believe that if we believe in a God, if we believe in this God, then it's no wonder we are a people hungry for Him.  We are a people who have far-too-long contented ourselves to drop Him an email or a quick little prayer, to connect through a short message or a status update, when all that talk that seems so good is only building in us a deeper longing to really love Him.  To embrace Him.  To be embraced by Him.  To stand in the driveway and talk for awhile.  To share a real cup of coffee and maybe a biscotti.  (Is that unleavened bread?)

This God that we've settled on is a lot less than the God that He says He is.  Stuck in an intangible unreality, this God is virtually not anything.

But our tangible God is really everything.

And I'd risk stepping on an actual Lego if it brought me one step closer to touching Him.

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