photo credit: http://movies.tvguide.com
I was just thinking of a movie I saw about 10 years ago. It’s called The Game and it stars Michael Douglas and Sean Penn. Now, in preparation for this post, I read the IMDB plot synopsis, but something was amiss. I can’t seem to reconcile my experience watching the movie and what I just read–each have had two very different results.
Taking it a little further… have you ever been in a conversation with someone who finds out you’re going to see a movie they’ve recently seen? Inevitably, they react. Especially if it’s a particularly good or bad movie. Assume for a moment it’s a great movie. How would you respond if that friend of yours proceeded to explain the entire movie to you? Moments before you went to see it? Most of us would be angry, right? We might even say, “Aw man! You’ve ruined it for me!” Ruined what?
What happens when we’re given an explanation of an experience before we experience it?
When this happens to us, we feel like something’s been stolen from us. The impact of the experience decreases when the information we have beforehand increases. This is… ‘The Game.’ Whether it’s a movie, or a book, or a country, we’re designed to discover new things through experience, not through cognition. In fact, neurologists provide empirical evidence that 95% of what we ‘know to be true’ comes through experience, and only 5% through cognition. So we play a game. It’s called “Lalalala I Can’t Hear You Lalala! Don’t Say Aything I Don’t Want You To Ruin It!” (OK, maybe you have a different name for it, but we all play it at every level of our existence.)
Most prevailing (modern) evangelism techniques utterly fail to even recognize the Game. In fact, they inherently cause us to be that blabber mouth friend who says, “The bad guy dies in the end!” When we seek to explain the Gospel to someone who hasn’t experienced it, we commit a major offense: We take all the mystery out of an encounter with Christ and replace it with, at best, confusion and at worst, disinterest. The ‘Game’ is why it is so difficult to lead a person to faith simply by explaining the Gospel. Please don’t misunderstand me… it is certainly not impossible to do this (God can reach any person, by any means), just very difficult and ultimately unsustainable.
Wanna know who gets it? Consumer Recreation Services. That’s the company who facilitates The Game for Michael Douglas’ character. If you’re hoping for more of an explanation here, I’m afraid you will be left wanting. I don’t want to be a hypocrite! My advice: go watch the movie. You just have to experience it…