“You are the light of the world.” Us? It’s a scandal. Here we are, struggling along just like everybody else. Get close enough to any of us to peer past our perfect perfumed smiles and you will see that none of us has it together. If Jesus wants to brighten up this dark world, He should install better lighting.
We’ve become a little too nonchalant about Jesus. In our songs and conversations, we have reduced Him to a permissive accomplice, a smiling confidante in constant agreement with our every whim.
He is an eviscerated Christ, mutilated by our pride. It is our pride that’s behind it all. Why else would we define boundless love as unchallenging approval if we weren’t obsessed with puffing ourselves up? If, as our mantra says, Jesus fully understands and loves us, He then should challenge us to be and do better. That would involve a lot of tough conversations.
Of course, in Jesus, the Divine has been encapsulated into accessible humanity. Jesus comes to us at our level but we should always remember that He is stooping. His total humility cannot obscure His terrific condescension. He is like us but a whole lot more.
Revelation is meant to be taken seriously. That’s why John’s vision of Jesus was so striking as to make him fall flat on his face. As I heard Sigve Tonstad say, “Revelation is meaningful because understanding is possible.” Quivering fear stands in the way of understanding and so Jesus must bid John, “Don’t be afraid.”
Somebody ought to forward that memo to dour-faced evangelists bent on striking hearts with fear. Revelation is meant to inspire obedience springing from understanding. They need to learn humility too because their prophetic charts and proof texts can lead them to trust in their limited knowledge of the future instead of the Jesus who holds it.
We need to keep the balance between the “God out there” and the “God in my heart”. Both perspectives are true but both have pitfalls: fear and presumption. The line between fear and reverence is a frightfully thin one but we can and need to tremble before Jesus without fearing Him. This is only possible if we behold Him as He is revealed.
We’ve locked God up in church and locked our brains out. That way, we can do whatever we like during the week and only surrender our freedom on Saturday. That is why it gets harder to thank God when life gets better – why thank somebody who stayed locked up in church and morning worship while I slaved away all week?
God made a big mistake! He forgot to fix the universe so that it would keep rotating around us, thus, we get what we want sometimes but most of the time, the universe grows bored with us and runs off to spin around other things, leaving us with crushed hopes and failed plans. What sort of God does that to us? We have a right to get whatever we want. Of course, the universe ought to spin around us, our signatures are etched in the planets and our selfies are posted on the very stars after all! Fortunately, God has a weakness Continue reading →
I am often enthralled and disgusted at the sight of self-declared weak faith waved about as a weapon to fight change. It is akin to the simultaneous wonder and horror of watching a python engulf a favourite pet. With nothing short of pure astonishment, I have witnessed church leaders brandish it like a katana, Continue reading →
Where are you? God comes strolling in Eden, longing for companionship with those made in His likeness but they hide and so He asks this question. This is not a geographical question but a relational question. Forbidden fruit has driven a wedge between God and man, not by driving God from man but by inculcating mankind with a self destructive desire for God’s absence. By asking, “Where are you?” God is also saying, “I am right here.” Humanity has fled the relationship but divinity still seeks companionship. It follows therefore, that Christ’s enshrouding of divinity in humanity was not an experiment meant to alter divinity’s perception of humanity but vice versa. That is why God is not reconciled to man but man is reconciled to God. Continue reading →
“You’ll be back,” says the haunting thought. It mocks as you swear you’ll never dial that number again, even though you leave it in your phonebook or when you clear your browser’s history but leave that hidden folder (for next time?). Maybe it rolls its eyes at you when you quit smoking for the sixth time that month or when you pour that drink into the sink but keep it for deposit. Continue reading →