Friday, September 17, 2010

Preconceptions of Heaven...

I had a dream some time back of being in a large church building.  I knew it was a church building in the same way one often knows "where" one is in a dream, even if the actual details seen in the dream don't actually match the real places of one's experience.  In this case, the building had a lot of white walls with columns and cleanly chiseled features.  If you've spent any time in a stereotypical Southern Baptist church, or have seen the stage used by Dr. Charles Stanley on In Touch, or have seen pretty much anything broadcast on TBN, then you've got a pretty good idea of what I'm talking about.  Without my realizing it, this has become the stereotypical image of a "church" in my mind, despite the fact that very few of the churches I've ever attended (much less have been a member of!) actually looked like this.

After awakening, but upon reflection on these images, I came to realize that my mental "image" of heaven is fairly similar, perhaps with a few clouds tossed in for good measure.  I'm not entirely sure why this is, other than that I'm no doubt drawing upon widely conveyed cultural stereotypes without having ever realized it before.

I wonder what that has to say about what I think heaven is like, and/or perhaps what I think God is like?  I mean, I'm fully aware that heaven isn't actually like this, and I certainly don't think that God is actually an old man with a long, white beard, but these are nonetheless the kinds of images my mind automatically conjures up when I think about these concepts.  And, if these are my prejudices about heaven and God, what realities about both might I be missing, despite my conscious acknowledgment that these images are incorrect?

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