January 6, 2005

Healthy Fear

I read a rather interesting description of the gospel of Jesus today. Well, actually yesterday, but I re-read it today. And it was very compelling. Again. Like, it's a true statement but it goes against every version I've ever heard presented, very un-PC, very counter-intuitive, very mysterious. I liked it. And here it is, in all of its copied-from-the-book glory, from Donald Miller's Searching for God Knows What. Enjoy.

"You are the bride to the Bridegroom, and the Bridegroom is Jesus Christ. You must eat of His flesh and drink of His blood to know Him, and your union with Him will make you one, and your oneness with Him will allow you to be identified with Him, His purity wallowing God to interact with you, and because of this you will be with Him in eternity, sitting at His side and enjoying His companionship, which will be more fulfilling than an earthly husband or earthly bride. All you must do to engage God is be willing to leave everything behind, be willing to walk away from your identity, and embrace joyfully the trials and tribulations, the torture and perhaps martyrdom that will come upon you for being a child of God in a broken world working out its own redemption in empty pursuits."

And then Miller says "though it sounds absurd, this is a much more accurate summation of the gospel of Jesus than the bullet points we like to consider when we think about Christ's message to humanity." Interesting? I think so. Compelling? Definitely. Creepy?


I had to think hard about it before I decided I kinda liked it, because it's so ... it sounds so rediculous. It definitely uses language that we tend to try and avoid, because we think it might scare somebody, or make them feel inadequate, or make them feel bad. Which is really kinda funny, because I also heard a guy on the radio today where he - the guy - talked about how a healthy sense of fear - of God, of a parent, of authority - is a good thing. Not an unhealthy amount (like too much or too little), but just the right size, like a medium drink or something. That made sense too. And I thought hey, that's pretty cool - just enough fear of God to try not to screw up our lives, and a whole lot of love for Him tends to make a really great relationship. Like, you might do whatever you wanted if you weren't afraid of the consequences. That's what I think he means by a "healthy amount" of fear - just afraid enough of the consequences to think before you act. Like driving a car.

I know about driving. I've driven a lot. I like driving, it's pretty fun, especially when you have a new car and stuff. Like my new car. It's not really new, but it's new to me, and that makes it seem very special. But I have my new car because I ran the last one into a guardrail. And it's not like I wanted to, and it's not like I liked that it happened. But I was driving in really crappy weather, and I wasn't afraid enough of the road conditions to take it a lot slower than I was. I mean, I was afraid a little, and I was definitely 15 under the speed limit already. But come on, nature is way harder than that, and the next thing I know, I'm in the guardrail going "hey, what just happened?"

I drive a lot more carefully now.

But I think that we only get one shot at life. Unlike my car, I can't go to the nearest dealer and be like "dude, can you reincarnate me as somebody who's more careful?" They'd laugh at me if I did that. And they'd be right, because you can't do that. You can only be careful with the life you have, and God, among other things, says "you should probably be a little afraid of NOT knowing me, because if you don't know me, you won't like what comes next."

We've ignored this part of the gospel because it's not very PC - nobody likes to do something because they're afraid of what might happen. I know we've done this out of good intentions. It's because we want people to like God, and to like the idea of being happy with knowing God. But it's not the whole picture, because if people think that God's grace is just a get-out-of-jail-free card, they're not afraid enough of the consequences of their actions. God doesn't seem to like the consequences much either, but those are the rules He wrote, and that's just kinda that.

So yeah - love God, but don't get too comfortable, because He's likely to ask you to do stuff you might not like. And you really should listen, it's definitely best for everybody.

1 comment:

Mike said...

Chris... didn't know you had a blog! AWESOME! i spend an hour or so reading and catching up on your life through the blog... and ... man, we need to do lunch! you're thinking some refreshing and inspiring thoughts about our relationship to God and our relationship to each other. well done! and i'm glad you've connected with Donald Miller. Blue LIke Jazz is brilliance... straight up brilliance... and Searching for God Knows What is a close second. Happy reading and blessings for your young family! :)