Monday, July 12, 2010


Florescent lights disturb me. At my previous job, they hummed an infirm melody and squeezed my pupils. Their partner in crime was the computer screen. She glowed indispensably. Artificial light pressed down on me. Processed light peered into me. These were more oppressive than middle management.

Light was originally intended to catalyze, not oppress. In the beginning, God tamed chaos, subdued darkness, and made room for life by creating light (Genesis 1:2-5). Light distinguished night from day, evening from morning.

God gave us light. Prometheus gave us fire. Edison gave us the bulb. Ergonomics gave us tiny working cubes and overhead florescent tubes. And we got 'eye fatigue.'

This is the moral of the myth of progress: The more we follow the industrial, unnatural, energy-efficient lights of our world, the worse our eyes will get. Paul said, "the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving, so that they might not see the light of the glory of the gospel of Christ, who is the image of God" (2 Corinthians 4:4). Therefore, he prayed "that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you will know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe" (Ephesians 1:18-19).

Light is a metaphor for Father, Son, and followers of God (1 John 1:5; John 8:12; Isaiah 49:6; Matthew 5:14-16). The light we shine is not real like a sunrise, but it is not artificial like an incandescent bulb. What is real about our blaze is that it is personal.

Light reveals and reflects. Light creates environments and changes them. Its shades and shadows, tones and temperatures, excite warmth and intimacy or inspire silence and awe. As does God. As does Jesus. As should I (Matthew 5:16).

Sadly, Christians are too often considered processed, artificial, and oppressive. We hum infirm melodies and squeeze weak pupils. Perhaps we should flip the switch and get real.

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