I’m reading through Rob Bell’s Velvet Elvis and over and over again I’m struck by a deep resonance in my spirit with what he’s saying. I’ve had this experience with a number of authors in my life. My first memory of it was reading some of the Chronicles of Narnia when I was twelve or thirteen, maybe younger. I can’t remember which book it is in (and I’m too lazy to go look it up), but there’s a scene in either The Silver Chair or Voyage of the Dawn Treader where Aslan is speaking to one the children who is about to leave Narnia for good, and the child is understandably upset by the fact that he can’t ever get back and won’t see Aslan or Narnia again. Aslan replies with something like, “I am there in your world, only you must come to know me by a different name.”
And there it was—this incredible feeling of awe and peace that seemed to cause my spirit to vibrate from within. My breath caught in my throat. My eyes filled with tears, and all I could do was whisper out words of praise.
I’ve experienced this feeling a number of times, and the enlightenment-trained modernist in me still tries to classify and define the experience. The best I can do is equate it somehow to Jesus’ statement that when He gave us the Holy Spirit that the Spirit would lead us into all truth. In some way I can’t quite explain, I believe this sensation is the Spirit within me confirming Truth as I encounter it.
Since I already hear people preparing a rebuttal, let me add that I am not saying we should abandon all reasoning and follow our feelings in some new-agey, the-truth-is-within-you subjectivism. What I am saying, is that I believe this experience is another spiritual gift that God has given us: a spiritual mechanism that is sensitive to the presence of truth and beauty. I’m grateful for its presence in my life, and I want to be sensitive to how the Spirit uses it to lead me as I journey.