“Years ago a mother wrote to C.S. Lewis regarding her son (age nine) and his love for The Chronicles of Narnia. The boy was feeling bad because he felt he loved Aslan (the lion hero of the story) more than Jesus. With grace and brilliance Lewis replied that he need not worry: “For the things he loves Aslan for doing or saying are simply the things that Jesus really did and said. So that when Laurence thinks he is loving Aslan, he is really loving Jesus: and perhaps loving him more than he ever did before.” Truth doesn’t need a verse attached to it to be true (my emphasis added). All that you loved about Aslan is Jesus.
“Systemizing flattens, says Kilby, but myth rounds out. Systemizing drains away color and life, but myth restores. Myth is necessary because of what man is…because man is fundamentally mythic. His real health depends upon his knowing and living his…mythic nature. Mythic stories help us to see clearly, which is to say, they help us see with the eyes of the heart. So cast a wide net, and draw in all those stories that have ever stirred your soul, quickened your spirit, brought you to tears of joy or heroic imagination. You will need them all, as you shall see.” (John Eldredge in Waking The Dead).
Seeing with the eyes of the heart has been very powerful in my own experience. One thing you start to realize when you spend time in the middle east, is that the Bible is an eastern book written in an ancient eastern world. The eastern world tells stories, paints pictures, and speaks to the eyes of the heart. We live in a world that is very Greek, very western. The western world typically speaks in terms of lists and tries to reason with someone rather than speaking directly to the heart.
One of the most striking ways this dichotomy shows up is if you go into a classroom filled with children in Israel and ask them who/what is God? You get a very different answer if you go into an American classroom and ask the exact same question. If you ask children in America who/what is God, they will usually say things like, “Truth, love, peace, mercy.” And there is nothing wrong with that. It’s just sometimes hard to clearly picture “truth, peace, mercy or love” in your head.
What answers will you get if you walk into a classroom filled with children in Israel? The answers will typically be “God is a shepherd, rock, eagle’s wings, etc.” Powerful images that speak to the heart and help one see more clearly, in my humble opinion.