I know we are behind the times but my family just watched the Russell Crowe Noah movie. I have to say, I absolutely loved it. The film was an incredible portrayal of God’s wrath and love, the coexistence of good and evil in the heart of men, God’s gift of freewill, the triumph of love, and the redemptive nature of God. Yes, the details of the story are different from the Genesis account – but Veggie Tales didn’t exactly get the details all right either and I never saw a produce boycott.
I found myself reading the religious criticisms of the movie online – most of them regarding the inaccuracies and the “corrupt” nature of some of the source material. The whole thing got me thinking about how many believers search the world for evil and lies – and they find it everywhere. In fact, they become so accustomed to searching out evil, that evil becomes all they are capable of seeing. I can’t help but wonder how different life and faith would be if instead of looking for dark in the darkness, we looked instead for the light.
In order to do that, I think we first have to realize that we (Christians) do not own the light.
We (Christians) do not own the truth.
We (Christians) do not determine when, where, or how it reveals itself.
God alone owns truth and light, and at times He reveals it in places we would never expect to find it. I had a good pastor friend once describe the Gospel as being woven into the fabric of creation – embedded in its DNA. I love that imagery in that it helps me grasp the idea that light and truth can be found far outside the boundaries we define as Christianity.
There is light to be found in movies not starring Kirk Cameron.
There is truth to be found in songs not composed by Chris Tomlin.
There is inspiration to be found in books, art, cultures, and yes, even faiths outside of the boundaries we have created to contain our faith. It is there because God is not contained by those boundaries. It is there because his fingerprints are on everything. It is there because His essence is woven into the very DNA of all creation.
And because it is there, we can look at things outside our imaginary borders and find truth, light, and beauty. We can look into the eyes of the Muslim, the Hindu, the Buddhist, the agnostic, and the atheist and see the evidences of that spiritual DNA. We can watch movies like Noah, read books like Harry Potter, listen to music by Mumford & Sons, and in those things we find truths to embrace and share with the world.
Those truths resonate with all humanity.
Those truths break through the darkness.
Or we can choose to go on attack in the name of righteousness, and in so doing deny that there is light in places we do not own and drive people further into the blackness.
I think it is far better thing to search the world for beauty, truth, and light rather than go on the witch hunt for darkness. Don’t read this wrong – I think we absolutely have to call out evil when we see it; but I think the world needs more of the light pointed out. To me, helping people see light even in the midst of darkness is a far more beautiful and redemptive thing. Light does not expose darkness; it obliterates it by simply being what it is.
I challenge you, look for light in the dark places. Point it out when you see it. When a song speaks the truth, embrace it and declare it. When a movie rings with truth, shout it out. When a book, or a blog, or a person reveals the evidence of God’s DNA, even without knowing it, celebrate in the truth with them. It is the truth that sets us free – and we do not own and/or legislate that truth. We can however help others see the truth that is already evidenced in their lives and world around them.
“(We) are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” – Matthew 5:14-16