Ok, obviously the earth is round. This is without question, and was apparently accepted by the educated elite, even in Columbus’ time. However, for the uneducated and superstitious of that day, the earth was obviously flat. And if you were foolish enough to launch out and sail too far, like Columbus, you would most certainly fall off the edge. Not to mention the danger of sea monsters and the like. Arggh!
Why I Believe…
For me the idea of a flat earth is comforting. Surprised? You see, as long as the earth is flat, then there is no reason to launch out. No reason to leave the safety and comfort of all that is familiar. No reason to challenge the way things are, or dream of things as they might be. In fact, if the world is flat, then to recklessly embrace the adventure of the open sea would not only be foolish, it would be insane. Better to just calm down and take it easy. Fighting sea monsters? Falling off the edge? Far better to stay where all was safe, and predictable and normal.
Playing “What If?”
But what if, for the sake of argument, the world was round. Well, that changes everything. Suddenly the very foundations of the status quo are seriously at risk! If the world is round, every argument for playing it safe, living in comfort and holding fast to what is, loses it’s rationale. Take it easy? Are you crazy? Launching forth begins to appear reasonable, enticing, romantic, even inevitable. Every excuse for sitting still, for remaining comfortable, loses it’s justification. Stability disappears suddenly, like a wisp of smoke, and all that remains is the mystery of the unknown and the call to explore. If the world was round.
Embracing the Mystery
Every time we accept and live by something that isn’t true, we damage ourselves. The reality is the world IS round. So here’s the question. If the world is round, why do we so often live as though it were flat? Embracing safety, pursuing comfort and choosing security! Ignoring challenge, waltzing with the familiar and opting for normal! With mystery, adventure and the excitement of the open sea at our door, why are we so inclined to “play it safe?” I often ask my college classes, “Which is more likely to mature the human personality. Comfort? Convenience? Immediate gratification? Or struggle, sacrifice and self-denial? Really? The latter? Then why does the former message so saturate our media? And why are we so slow to embrace struggle and sacrifice? Why don’t we strive instead to build challenge, mystery and adventure into the very fabric of our lives?”
A New World Theology
The Columbus analogy is apt in another sense. Columbus embraced the logic of adventure. And so he chose to launch out in search of a New World. In similar fashion, in Hebrews chapters ten and eleven we find another group of intrepid explorers; adventurous saints, aliens and strangers in this world, who launched forth, amid extreme persecution, “Looking for a country whose maker and builder was God.”
Please don’t get me wrong. I LOVE the idea that the earth is flat, (unfortunately) and ALL of the implications! But it’s not. And nothing I feel or prefer will change that. Sometimes I feel like Peter. I’m following Jesus. I’m even in the boat. But I’m also struggling, trying to muster the courage to trust my Lord and Savior, who is calling me to get out of the safety of the boat and walk on water.
Learning to Love a Round Earth
What about you? We are only given this one life. Have you chosen to play it safe? Like so many, have you spent much of your life pursuing comfort and security? Or perhaps there is some area where God is calling you to embrace the adventure of the open sea? A single bold action you could take to “test the waters.” A step of faith where God is calling you, like Peter, to “step out of the boat.” I’d love to hear your thoughts.