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Growing up in the back yard of Epcot and Disney World meant that I had my fare share of 3D movie experiences, including Thriller. Come on who didn’t want to be Michael Jackson when they were 10! Confession time I had a white glove and a Jackson wannabe jacket (be honest so did you). One of the things I loved about Epcot center was its 3D movies. I can remember thinking how cool it would be if every advertisement was in 3D. Like countless visitors I ended up “forgetting” to return my 3D glasses. I can remember how disappointed I was when I found out that they wouldn’t work on every ad I saw but it didn’t stop me from walking around for hours in 98% Florida summer weather with them stuck to my face. 

Just like watching 3D movies is a totally different visual and imaginative experience with 3D shades on so is living life in light of the story of Christ. When we see him on his terms and not our own, and when we’re willing to allow that vision to invade every part of our lives we can’t help but see life differently. Richard B. Hays, a New Testament Scholar at Dukc, shares about how the gospel Paul preached (the story of Christ as it connected to the story of the Hebrew bible), changed the way his hearers – religious and irreligious alike – viewed all of life;

“…the “Israel” into which Paul’s Corinthian converts were embraced was an Israel whose story had been hermeneutically reconfigured by the cross and resurrection. The result was that Jew and Gentile alike found themselves summoned by the gospel story to a sweeping reevaluation of their identities, an imaginative paradigm shift so comprehensive that it can only be described as a “conversion of the imagination.” Such a a thoroughgoing conversion could be fostered and sustained only by a continuous process of bringing the community’s beliefs and practices into critical confrontation with the gospel story.”

Richard B. Hays, The conversion of the imagination: Paul as interpreter of Israel’s Scripture, pgs. 5-6

Hays’s quote is a good reminder that the story of Christ challenged those who were considered religious in Paul’s day as well as those who were considered irreligious and pagan to give up their old stories and imagine life and everything in it afresh in light of Christ’s story. His story called for a “conversion of imagination” that took place in different but dramatic ways for each group of people.

…all things get redefined by the story of Christ, all narratives get redefined; whether they’re of a religious or irreligious origin.

What are your thoughts on Hays’s quote? Is the phrase “conversion of the imagination” a helpful way to express what happens to all of us as we begin to re-read our lives in light of the story of Chrst?