Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Schiphol Airport and False Realities

A few weeks ago I had a busy trip through Europe. On Sunday I flew from Arkansas to Denmark, where I had meetings on Monday and Tuesday. Wednesday I flew from Denmark to Germany, and drove to Poland. I spent Thursday in Poland. On Friday I flew back from Germany to Arkansas.

So I spent a lot of time in Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam that week: three times in five days I killed time in that airport. Now either I kept crossing this same little cafe, or they have several of them. This cafe was meant to be set up like a little park. The walls were painted green and with murals of nature; there were loud birds chirping on the speakers; the benches looked like park benches; there was the sound of running water like a fountain.

And people actually did look relaxed. They would sit back in the park benches with their fast food, and look around peacefully as though they were in a real park.

But for some reason, this false park really struck a strange chord for me. Every time I walked by, it just seemed so...cold and simulated. People congregated happily, as though they were going to an oasis of nature in the middle of this otherwise industrial airport...but I kept wanting to scream, "This isn't nature! You aren't in an oasis! It's just paint on a wall and a soundtrack played over the speakers!"

But the people sure loved it. I guess I shouldn't be surprised...after all, we long ago started to prefer our simulations over reality. We prefer our video game sports to actually playing ourselves. We prefer to watch a movie rather than experience something. We prefer the story of a romantic comedy rather than our real love lives--to the point that we will end our marriages if they don't "live up" to the scripted falsehood we enjoy watching on TV and film.

Be careful that you do not do the same with theology. Theology is great, it is amazing, it is the highest pursuit of knowledge...but it is not the same as having a relationship with God. The Once-Dead God wants to have a relationship with you. A real relationship. One in which He makes you a co-heir of eternity with Him. Don't pass that up to spend time reveling in the theology rooms that man built. They are valuable, they are good: but they are not reality. They are a simulation or approximation of the Truth: never forget this.

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