Living in the Twilight Zone

“There is a fifth dimension beyond that which is known to man. It is a dimension as vast as space and timeless as infinity. It is the middle ground between light and shadow, between science and superstition, and it lies between the pit of man’s fears and the summit of his knowledge. This is the dimension of imagination. It is an area we call the Twilight Zone.”

~Opening to the third season of “The Twilight Zone” TV program.

I’m starting a class I’m calling “Living in the Twilight Zone.” At first I thought I’d call it Ministry in the Twilight Zone, but these days I shy away from terms like ‘ministry’ that have become deeply rooted in the Christian sub-culture.
The class is based on these assumptions:

  • · As Christ-followers we are transitioning into a new dimension, a dimension that links time and space with the dimension of the infinite and eternal (some would call it ‘heaven,’ but that’s another term fairly drenched with the heavy perfume of evangelicalism so I’ll call it the ‘dimension of the infinite-eternal.’). We are bound for a destination beyond this world.
  • · Having been infected with the “good virus” called the Spirit, which is the legacy of a crucified and resurrected Messiah, we find ourselves in “the middle ground between light and shadow,” between the limitations of reasoning and the credulity of religion; between the primal fear of living and the limitless hope for something beyond. It is a dimension of imagination, but not of myth and legend. As Spirit “carriers” we are drawn into a reality that strains our imagination: the meta-narrative, the story from which myths and legends descend. It is the First Truth from which half-truths, distortions, and falsehoods flow. The story of our Creator God and His chosen Seed is the meta-narrative. It is our legacy and our story to tell. As Christ-followers, we are not to withdraw from the world, but to carry the light—the story—into the world, living consistently, faithfully and fearlessly as aliens in a place that is only a stopover on a longer journey.
  • · We are on a journey of discovery in which we intend to learn who we are in Christ and fearlessly embrace the implications. It seems that there are layers of “veneer” that, over time, have been nailed to the frame of the Father’s story. It will be our goal to peel away the layers and find what is basic to the life of a Christ-follower.
  • · We are not to judge the world as though it should be expected to live as we do in spite of the fact it has not been infected with the Spirit. We are to love the world because that is what our Father did. As Jesus spoke with his Father he said, “As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world.” (John 17:18). Jesus loved the world. The Father sent Jesus because He loved the world. For that reason, we are to love the world. We are not to sit as judges, rather walk as storytellers, or as revelers carrying a “splendid torch” in the shadows.
  • · To do this we will have to practice storytelling and loving—one another and the world. John Alexander, in his book, The Secular Squeeze, put it this way: “But Jesus didn’t stop with stories; he also gave us way to authenticate them…He told us…that you tell whether a story is true by the lives of the people who tell it. You judge a story by its teller…A good story enables people to lay down their lives for each other and become one.” What is called “evangelism,” at its core, is the splendid torch of the Father’s story and the story of His seed, which is His Son.

This is living in the Twilight Zone. Undoubtedly, Rod Serling, in his portentous prelude to the creepy tales of that third season of the venerable program, never imagined that his words might suggest an approach to living as followers of Jesus. But, as long as light continues to meet darkness there will be shadows. That is where we have to learn to carry a torch.

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