We live in a day when the reality of life is defined by our experiences. We have even developed “virtual” reality, with the very phrase being both a paradox and an oxymoron. There was a time, not that long ago, when reality meant real and virtual wasn’t. Today we have merged the two to create a new perspective.
Until just a few years ago, the virtual world existed only in the imagination. But today we have the capability in technology to create a new “world” that we can see, hear, and experience. We have moved virtual from the realm of the mind to the physical. Now this means that experience must be defined and categorized in the context of true reality, imagination, or virtual reality. We can experience Hawaii by going there, or we can just imagine what it must be like, or we can have an experience of the islands through our VR glasses or HoloLenses. We may now call all 3 of these experiences.
Pornography, for example, has taken sexual acts to a different level, allowing the ability to experience sexual sensations and feelings without the actual physical touch of another human. The English word experience has a Greek counterpart called ginosko which has only one singular meaning—a reality based solely on experience. But this word ginosko is a Jewish idiom for sexual intimacy, finding its meaning only in a deeply personal experience in actual reality, not virtual or imaginative. Ginosko is a reality based only on reality! Ginosko is experienced by a person engaging in intimacy with another. Words do not do justice to communicate this reality.
Having seen the awesomeness of the Andean mountains, I can attempt to share my experience through words or pictures but for the person to share my experience, they have to go to the Andean mountains. Ginosko! Anything else is a counterfeit connection.
It is difficult to put into words our description and definition of the reality of air. But we can all experience oxygen in every moment. We know it exists but cannot touch it but yet we know it. So this word experience has a physical (tactile), emotional, and cognitive component.
In Crossruption, there are four fundamentally distinct experiences in Christian spirituality. They are not destinations but a journey that the cross of Christ opens up to us. This is the Way (John 14:6)!