What Are We Afraid Of?

Brant Hansen has a list of the Most Influential People in American Christianity, the ones who have most influenced the way we think and act as Christians. Check it out, and the comments too. Very interesting reading, at least to me.

Jesus came in tenth (tied with one of the Wesley brothers).

His point is that we seem to want to follow someone else rather than Jesus, to hear about Jesus from others, instead of from Jesus himself. While I think we desperately need to hear this in Evangelical America, it’s not a new distortion. Paul knew the same thing with some claiming to follow him, some following Peter, some Apollos. But why is that?

I’m sure there are lots of reasons, but I think mainly we’re afraid.

When I ask God to speak to me I run two risks.

The first risk is that He won’t show up. At all. That the god (little “g”) I’ve been praying to doesn’t exist. It’s likely to be true, at least to some extent, because the god we imagine and the God of the universe are, in fact, different beings. Rousseau hit upon a truth when he said, “God created man in his image. And man, being a gentleman, returned the favor.” The God of the universe doesn’t often act the way I want him to, or show himself just because I want him to. His ways and thoughts are far above and beyond us. “What can be known about God has been made plain”… the rest we try to fill in ourselves. 

The second risk is that he actually will show up. Things (people) are never the same after he shows himself, and that’s pretty scary. The Israelites pleaded with Moses to speak to God and then report back, for fear they would die if He spoke directly to them. Isaiah fell down as though dead when he realized he was in the presence of God. Paul’s life was a little different after his trip to Damascus, and I don’t think Peter went back to being a fisherman after pentecost. 

We’re afraid that he won’t show up, and we’re afraid he will show up. 

When Jesus showed up, scripture says that the people were amazed at his teaching because it had authority, unlike the teaching from their leaders. When he said, “I am”, on at least one occasion, people were knocked to the ground.

But it wasn’t just authority and power that got him in trouble, it was what he said that was dangerous. Just try to do what he said to do and see what happens.

Turn the other cheek, go with your oppressor two miles instead of one, and give him your coat as well as your shirt and while you’re at it pray for him. Those are hard enough, but offer forgiveness to the “wrong” person, and you’ve got enemies. Challenge “the way things are” and see how quickly it gets ugly. Be a peacemaker and see who gets chewed up and spit out. 

Kingdom talk gets you killed.

But once you’ve heard it and it takes root, it captivates you, it changes everything. Suddenly you live in a much bigger world, one that centers around a throne where songs of praise are sung day and night, where the One who sits on that throne laughs at the scheming kings of this world, one where you pledge your life to a King who is always faithful to you.  It’s no longer about you and what you want, it’s about the King and what He wants this day, not in the sweet by and by. It means you have to re-think everything. Things (people) can never be the same again. Eugene Peterson, speaking of this truth of the Kingdom says this;

“If Christ is the King, everything, quite literally, every thing and every one, has to be re-imagined, re-configured, re-oriented to a way of life that consists in an obedient following of Jesus…A total renovation of our imagination, our way of looking at things–what Jesus commanded in his no-nonsense imperative, ‘Repent!’–is required.” ~ From The Jesus Way

That’s what scares us most, “an obedient following of Jesus… is required.”

Tags: , , , ,

3 Responses to “What Are We Afraid Of?”

  1. Brant Says:

    Man, that’s just it. The Kingdom is SO great, the good news is SO good — and Christians don’t want to hear it.

    I think we — American Christians — don’t want to follow Jesus for the same reasons Pharisees didn’t, deep down. We resent the simplicity of His teaching (Jesus’s yoke is light) and we prefer rules, anyway.

    But that probably just gets right back to your point about preferring that over dealing with a living Jesus. We’d rather have a complex book to study.

  2. seaton garrett Says:

    Hey man! Thanks for stopping by.

    “Simple” doesn’t equal “easy to do”. Plus, it doesn’t leave any room for me on the throne. The Kingdom is pretty simple, but we don’t want to get it.

  3. kathleen davis Says:

    in response to your expressiveness about “the Spiritually poor”, i was absolutely shocked to hear what you said. I hear God in what you say all the time …very profound things. You ARE so full of His Wisdom and Holy Spirit. Do you think that maybe you have been deceived into thinking this?Not long ago I went through a period of thinking that i started to have some “hardness of heart”, then everytime i would listen to your radio station, there would be either a song or a testimony that would make me start crying with much intense. I truely believe that God showed me the truth…I was believing into a lie.

    Keep up the Awesome Work that God has put you in!!!!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: