Just found something I wrote back in 2002, around the time when I was finally born again after 12 years in the church. (I wrote about that here.)
You’ve heard of a very beautiful and special town and you’ve decided you want to go there. You ask someone for directions, someone who seems to know about that town. He takes you on a train and, after a few stops, says, ‘OK, this is where we get off.’
You get off the train and begin to settle in in this new place. You find somewhere to live, get a job, and find out where the shops are. There’s an old map you’ve carried with you, a map you found in the library back home – this map had sparked your interest in that special town and made you want to go there. But as you try to use this map to find your way around, you find that the streets don’t correspond to the map! ‘It’s only an old map,’ the people there explain to you, ‘you can’t always rely on it.’ But nevertheless they talk reverently of the old map, as if it’s special. ‘There’s a lot of beauty in the map,’ they say in hushed tones. They can even see some deep symbolism in the street names.
Quietly you wonder to yourself about this odd situation. Why should we use a map if it’s no good as a map? you ask yourself. You hear about people who do believe the map is true, but these people are regarded as imbeciles, to be pitied and not taken too seriously. After all, anyone can see that the map shows streets that are no longer there, and there are many places missing on it.
For twelve years you wonder. Then one blessed day you hear a voice as you look at the map. The voice whispers, ‘Right map. Wrong town.’
Let those who have ears, hear.