Session 5 Intro: Nurturing a Holy Imagination by Keith Doornbos

Well, I feel honored to have this conversation and to be able to join Jill and Brian Keepers. In a minute, I’ll introduce them. But I wonder whether you’ve heard the story of Horace Rackham. So Horace was employed by Henry Ford as his attorney for articles of incorporation for the Ford Company. As Henry Ford was describing this idea of affordable horseless carriages for everyone, Horace Rackham was just enamored by this and he thought, man, I’d love to invest and Ford says you should and so on.

But before Rackham made that decision, he went to his banker for advice. And so this was the president of the Michigan Savings Bank at the time. And he said, do you think I should invest? And the banker thought for a minute and he says, you know, the horse we will have with us forever. The automobile is a passing fad. I recommend you do not invest. Now I tell you that story for two reasons. One, you can be living in a time of incredible significant change and not recognize it. Right? That’s the first thing. And the second reason I tell you that is that not having imagination during one of those liminal periods, those times of change, can be extraordinarily costly.

So you need to recognize a time you’re in and you need to imagine what that time might be about so that you can bank preparations for the future. Now, the good news is that Horace decided to ignore his banker friends advice, and he scraped together $5,000 in 1903 and invested it in Ford Motor Company and sold it 10 years later, his $5,000 investment for $12.5 million, which is today worth $350 million, a third of a billion dollars he made by having the courage to imagine what could be. And as a matter of fact, the Rackham Foundation is interesting. I read about it yesterday. It says the foundation is about promoting the health, welfare, happiness, education, training, and development of men, women, and children, particularly the sick aid, young airing, poor, crippled, helpless, handicapped, unfortunate and underprivileged, regardless of race, religion, or station and millions and millions of dollars have been distributed out of that foundation because of imagination. Because of imagination.

And so this conference, as Larry has said, has been talking about being in the land between this liminal space and recognizing it as such, right? And what we’d like to about is the importance of holy imagination in the midst of that changing time. And just definition of holy imagination is a vision of a God-shaped future that produces passion. A vision of a God-shaped future that produces passion or a vision of tomorrow that God’s hand on that tomorrow, that shapes and sustains us today. And when I think about this kind of power of holy imagination, my mind goes to the heroes of faith in Hebrews 11. All of them were living as you know, in the liminal space, right? Significantly liminal space, in that land between. And in the midst of that land between, they were every one of them shaped by that vision, by a holy imagination, which the author of Hebrew simply calls faith, right?

It’s confidence of what we hope for, assurance of what we do not see, right? Isn’t that a picture of the future, God-shaped future? Confidence of what we hope for, assurance of what we do not see. Holy imagination sustained every one of them in it. By the time that we finished with Hebrews 11, at the end of the chapter, the author says this holy imagination, this faith, perfected them. The word is based on the Greek word, telos us, and we know telos is that finished outcome of God’s intended Shalom for his people. And so it drew them towards God’s future, his Shalom, and that was the power of it, right? The holy imagination that sustained them. And so we want to just talk about that holy imagination a little bit more. And so what it is, how it’s nurtured, how we can tap into it, all those sorts of things.