Spiritual Journey: Enter the Story of Jesus ~ BitterSweetLife

Monday, October 10, 2005

Spiritual Journey: Enter the Story of Jesus

To Know God Takes a New Plot

Spiritual Journey: A new approach may be necessary

Yesterday, as I listened to the themes of this countercultural book expounded upon, I was struck by the boldness of what Peter was up to. He was tracing the main elements of the normal Christian life, and his sequence ran something like this:

Brilliant new life (by faith) >> present-world internal assault (temptation) >> present-world external assault (persecution) >> ultimate glory, triumph (judgment that leads, for Christians, to heaven)

Then, like any good philosopher/theologian/historian, he neatly summed up the process with a simple label: Christ. You have been inducted into a new order, Peter was saying. You are living out a story that has been defined, at every turn, by the one you love and follow. Everything you do and endure and been prefigured by Jesus.

There were fresh bookends for the new plot. New life now, intermixed with temptation and persecution, finally culminating in a world-ending day in court and then deliverance and triumph. A new kind of empire building.

It is these bookends, Peter would point out, that inform the whole story, soak up the troubling points of darkness, and coalesce into a perfect narrative. Inside the story of Christ, there is room for pain and sorrow, but it is eclipsed by the hero's indomitable spirit and the radiant ending.

Inherent to Peter's assessment of the Christian life was this inescapable fact: If you're in Jesus' story, then adopting his ethos is the one sure route to survival. Learn to see life through Christ's eyes, and do it quickly. When in Rome, do as the Romans do. When in Christ, walk as he walked.

The concept of reorientation around a new polis would not have been without precedent for these disciples; the idol axis was upended; the Christ hub was installed. New radii were required.

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Culture. Photos. Life's nagging questions. - BitterSweetLife