Escape from Post-Reality

By Tom Gilson Published on April 17, 2024

We live in an age of invented gender, magical money, a political epidemiologist proclaiming “I am the science,” and of course, the mantra, “live your truth.” Reality isn’t just optional now, it positively gets in the way. This is the age of post-reality.

Built on the wispy foundations of “I feel” and “I wish,” post-reality is a comfortable place to be. It’s like having magical custom-built furniture that adjusts to fit, every time you shift your position.

It’s also a shadow world lacking all substance, a world destined to cave in on anyone who lives there. There’s nothing they need more than to escape this post-reality while they still can. And we who know Christ need to call them out of it, back into actual reality.

The Rock of Reality

They may not like the idea of reality, at least not at first. It won’t bend for them. It’s less like a comfy chair, much more like a rock. Jesus even said so, in so many words, and the beauty of this rock is that you can build your house on it. As Jesus said in Matthew 7:24-27,

“Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it.”

His words are truth, the only trustworthy guide to the reality behind all reality, and the one safe thing to build our lives upon. Still there are complaints about this rock. People can’t manipulate it, they can’t craft it to fit their pleasure, and like a boulder, if you crash into it, you will hurt. For some people, Jesus’s rock feels too solid and too strong for their liking.

Jesus’s Rock Is Solid

We see this not only in the sort secularism that discards Jesus, also but in modern “spiritualities” that rewrite Him to suit their tastes, which range from “I like Jesus but not religion” to “Jesus is on my list of good truths,” up through and including progressive Christianity. They all like Jesus, but won’t stand for “dogma” about Him.

Granted, people have used the word “dogma” for wrong purposes, but the the word originally referred to teaching, and with Jesus, the point of dogma is to teach His reality and His truth. Some people don’t want to be taught who Jesus is, though: They would rather teach Jesus who He is instead. They like a soft, “loving,” “welcoming”Jesus who accepts them as they are, and never asks them to change. The rock Jesus is talking about here is hard like granite. Surely He couldn’t have meant anything that unyielding!

Jesus was supremely welcoming, but always on His own terms

Yes, He could have. Jesus was supremely welcoming, but always on His own terms. He loved like no one else ever loved, yet on matters of His identity, His truth, and His mission, He was absolutely unbending.

We would call Him opinionated to a fault if His teachings were mere opinion of if there were any fault there. You do not call your teacher opinionated if she says the sun rises in the east A few years ago, you wouldn’t call parents opinionated if they insisted their daughter was a girl.

A Softer Rock??

Jesus likened His words to a rock. The post-real world gets most uncomfortable with this, confusing the foundation for the furniture. But rocks can be very comfortable, when you consider the security of knowing that when the winds and the rains come, your building will stand secure on that solid foundation.

It is Christians’ responsibility and privilege to invite people to come stand on the Rock with us. If the invitation doesn’t get through, we may do as Jesus did and warn them they must come over.

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They may complain, “That rock is too hard! You must soften it!” But we can’t. The rock is Jesus’s words, which we may not alter. Instead we can tell the post-real crowd about the house they can build on it, with warm lights burning inside, where there is the comfort of grace and love and friendship. We may share how even repentance is life and freedom, because it means living life according to our Creator’s design instead of against it.

Escape from Post-Reality

Sometimes I wonder what it must be like to live a post-real life, creating your own “truths,” designing your own “identity,” and all the rest, knowing you are responsible for it all. Who could feel qualified for that? Who could be qualified for it? If the rock of Jesus’s words doesn’t feel comfortable, it seems to me that post-real responsibilities must feel even worse at times.

If the post-reality crowd ever feels that discomfort, what they are feeling is reality. They might be glad to come over to the rock. They most certainly will be glad they have come, once they get there. So invite them, urge them, plead with them, warn them they must come over!

And never let them entice you into trying to soften the rock. The rock is Jesus’s words, and His words are reality. The post-reality crowd wants to escape from reality. Offer them an escape from post-reality instead – an escape from destruction and darkness, and a welcome into the light.

 

Tom Gilson (@TomGilsonAuthor) is a senior editor with The Stream and the author or editor of six books, including the highly acclaimed Too Good To Be False: How Jesus’ Incomparable Character Reveals His Reality.

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