In a lot of family vans, they have movie players so the kids can watch movies while they ride along. You can’t do that while driving, believe me… not that I’ve done it. I don’t have to. I just replay them in my mind. I have them stored, in my brain. Apparently my storage space was full by the time I was twelve because all I have in my mind is movies from childhood.
So, while driving down the long highway, The Wizard of Oz started playing. I can’t decide on who I think is scarier Ms. Gulch on her bicycle, or the Wicked Witch. If you throw in the flying monkeys, I have to say the Wicked Witch, but before that I’d say it’s a tie.
Then, because I am a preacher, I can’t just replay The Wizard of Oz in my mind, I had to consider them philosophically, “Which place is real, is it Kansas or is it Oz?”
Think about it. If you’re first thought is, ‘Of course Kansas real. Oz is made up. It’s just a story, a product of someone’s imagination. Not Kansas. I’ve been to Kansas.’ I must point out to you, in the movie Kansas is in black and white while Oz is in color.
I’ll also relate to you my trip to Kansas with a couple of Spanish exchange students.
We went a several summers ago. We had a couple of boys from Spain. Carrie, Cayla, and Abbie had gone to Spain the summer before and came back with these two teenage boys, they are always picking up strays. We were on the way to Colorado, driving, and every state we get to it’s a celebration because they were all new to the boys and so they treated each one like a new country.
We’re in Kansas City and stopped for gas. The boys are doing their new state dance. A guy at the gas station asked me, “What are they so excited about?”
I explained, “They are from Spain, and they celebrate each new state we enter. They are dancing because we’ve entered Kansas.”
Then he said, “You’re not in Kansas.”
I said, “I thought this was Kansas City.”
“It is,” he said.
“But we’re not in Kansas?”
“Where are we?”
“When will we get to Kansas?” I asked him.
“When you get to Kansas City,” he said.
“I thought we were in Kansas City,” I said.
“You are, Kansas City, Missouri,”
“How do I get to Kansas City, Kansas?”
“You have to cross the Missouri River.”
“I cross the Missouri River and I get to Kansas?”
“Yes,” he said. As if it made sense.
So I asked him, “Who’s on first?”
“I don’t know,” he said.
“Third base!” I shouted.
So, we left there and went on to Colorado. Driving across Kansas I wasn’t sure I was anywhere because it felt like nowhere. I kept looking for the Rockies as a sign that I would get out of Kansas. We didn’t cross a river to get into Colorado. The only reason we knew that we had left Kansas and entered Colorado was the sign. You sort of had to believe that you left Kansas because that part of Colorado looks exactly like Kansas. There was no “New State Dance” as everyone was asleep but me. Kansas will do that to you.
In the original colonies, the boundaries were natural, rivers. Out west, State lines are much more arbitrary. So, I ask you, is Kansas real or did someone make it up. If Oz isn’t real because someone made it up, why is Kansas real?
Tribal people who lived in Kansas and then some Americans came through Kansas and told them they would have to move. The Americans said their nation had purchased Louisiana from the French, and they threw in Kansas as a bonus. They had the receipt to prove it, but since the natives couldn’t read French, they had to leave.
You wonder, did they know they were living in Kansas?
Do you believe The United States is real or did someone make it up?
According to our history, on July 4, 1776 we weren’t colonies but a nation. All because of a piece of paper. A concept. A group of people made it up and went to war over the idea. We fought like a nation of individuals…
We said, “We declare we are a nation.”
The British said, “No you’re not, you’re just making that up.”
Apparently, according to Genesis 1, even the world was made up. God just had an idea, decided to make up a world, went something like this,
1 In the beginning when God created[a] the heavens and the earth, 2 the earth was a formless void and darkness covered the face of the deep, while a wind from God[b] swept over the face of the waters. 3 Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light.
God simply made up the universe and wanted others to live in God’s image, imagining things as well, love, peace, joy, even places like Kansas – if you can imagine such a thing.
Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited to all we now know and understand, while imagination embraces the entire world, and all there ever will be to know and understand. ― Albert Einstein