Everybody looks at the world through their own lens, a matrix of culturally inherited qualities, family influences, and other life experiences. This lens, or worldview, truly determines what we bring to every discussion.
When Jesus spoke of the coming of the Reign of God, he was trying to change peoples’ foundational worldview. When Francis spoke of his marriage to Lady Poverty, he was using a lovely metaphor to describe his central thesis for life. When Americans speak of money as “the bottom line,” they are revealing more about their real worldview than they realize.
We would do well to get in touch with our own operative worldview. It is there anyway, so we might as well know what this highly influential window on reality is. It’s what really motivates us. Our de facto worldview determines what catches our attention and what we don’t notice at all. It’s largely unconscious and yet it drives us to do this and not that. It is surely important to become conscious of such a primary lens or we will never know what we don’t see and why we see other things out of all perspective.
Until we can allow the gospel to move into that deepest level of the unconscious and touch our operative worldviews, nothing substantial is going to change. It will only be rearranging the furniture, not constructing a new room. Conversion is about constructing a new room, or maybe even a whole new house.
I wonder if this was not the full meaning of Jesus’s words to Francis from the cross at San Damiano: “Rebuild my house, for you see that it is falling into ruins.”
In looking at your world-image, look especially for any hints of purpose or direction, meaning or plan—or lack of it. Sit alone in the silence today and ask, “What do I expect of life? What do I owe life? What does the world offer me? What do I offer the world?” That will pretty much reveal your operative world-image. Is the universe for you or against you? Is it a hostile universe or are there angels in every tree?