This reality is like the gray stuff that you scratch off of a lottery ticket with a coin. The physical world is just that… thin. That shallow. That fragile.
There is this deeper reality beneath.
This, I think, is one of the most underestimated of the truths that Jesus came here to proclaim, that he came here to demonstrate. The kingdom of heaven is among us.
There will be a time that it falls away. That we see things as they are. But we are not there yet. And sometimes the façade is so convincing, and so brutal. It is such a temptation to forget the deeper and truer reality. It is so easy to deny that the kingdom is already among us.
There is an irony here. Liberals like myself are the first to follow guys like NT Wright and Rob Bell in celebrating this. When it is convenient, we shout from the roof tops that there are not these utterly separate, totally irreconcible worlds.
At the same time, the least likely to make anything of this is as are the conservatives. They read Frank Peretti and see angels and demons everywhere. And yet… they seem to want this distance, too.
This all crystalized for me, as I read a really good book by a fairly conservative writer. “The Bondage Breaker” by Neil T. Anderson takes seriously the idea of demonic influence in our lives. There is some incredibly powerful and valuable insight. But there are also places that I think he just has it wrong.
Based on my understanding of what I have read so far, he follows most of Christianity in recognizing two possibilities for mental illness:
A) Sometimes it is a worldy mental illness, related to worldy causes and circumstances.
B) Sometimes it is a demonically induced mental illness, caused by the powers and principalities we are meant to combat.
For so long, the debate has been around how often each of those occur. Sometimes, it’s gotten a little more sophisticated, and there has been an attempt to explain A as a result of B, or B as a result of A.
We have been infected by the errors of our age. We are looking for either/or. We resist explanations that are both/and.
Sometimes the both/and possibility is scary because it is hard to wrap our brains around. I don’t claim that I have full explanation of how it works.
But I think it’s worth considering that mental illness is worldy and otherworldy. It is natural and supernatural. We can talk about demons. And we can not talk about neurotransmitters. The first is speaking the language of the world behind this one. The second is comes from the language that we speak here and now in this world.