As we look through the lens of Peter’s 7 qualities, and explore the telescope illustration, I love how to all blends together with another aspect of the metaphor of how we see God.
Interestingly enough, one of the greatest limitations of earth-bound telescopes is that the atmosphere or environment creates disturbances or patches of distortion when gathering light from such a distant source on the outside of our natural world. To get around this limitation, Astronomers use what is called an Aperture Synthesis They take the images from several widely placed telescopes all pointing at the same object and combine the images so that if there’s a bad spot in one image, it may be clear in another, but the bad spot in the second one may be clear in a third or fourth. So they combine all the accurate parts from multiple different perspectives to get a clear, accurate picture.
Isn’t that one thing community does for us? We all have our environmental distortion created by our upbringing, or teaching, or wounds, or fears, and so when we look at God we have these bad patches in the picture where the light is bent by our own personal aberrations. Ahh…the beauty of community, where we come together and the distortion in our personal perspectives can be corrected when placed in the big picture that is formed when we all study, discuss, and interact with God together. Between all of us, we can eliminate a lot of the distortions that have been a part of our personal beliefs and experiences, and come up with a much clearer and accurate picture of who God is and the truth that He has placed in His word.
Community can expose areas of our praxis that are broken – usually areas that we are unaware of. When you’ve been functioning with the same dysfunction all of your life, there is nothing abnormal about it to you. We can not piece together the whole of truth as individuals. We need others around us who care enough to help us see, and encourage us to address our distortions.