Continued from here.
The entire series is available here.
Quite Absurd, Don’t You Think?
Atheists are pretty normal people, in my opinion. I respect those who have completely thrown every bit of aspersion available at the Church and the Christian faith. I commend their humanity. Yes, the same humanity you appeal to when you need funds for charity. It’s all “human”.
What else can we expect? Jesus himself could not penetrate the humanity of these people.
I remember when I used to watch Salsa and Merengue tutorials on TV. I wondered why people had to follow rules and guidelines just because they wanted to dance. Why all the steps? Basic one, two and three and whatever? What was all that? And people were smiling and happy? Seriously.
But I loved watching the dance. Just so beautiful.
Then Mema Ojukwu invited us to a short salsa session for her birthday. Goodness. You have no idea how ecstatic I was, seeing the fact that I could harness a whole lot of flexibility and agility, with a mix of sophisticated synchronous moves, and pour it all into defining intimacy between a man and a woman. The science was glorious and the art was magnificent. Not to sound perverted, but salsa is so sensual that inner feelings are released from fountains you never thought existed within you. If you are not careful, you may start developing strong feelings for your dance partner. In fact, if you don’t develop feelings for your partner, you may have emotional issues.
I didn’t get it until I got in. I had to get in the beauty of the dance, and how it made me feel, to appreciate it. Just watching it was fun, although the rules annoyed me. But that single lesson, although short, made the experience personal. And I took it personal.
The need for rhythm has become so programmed in me, that it affects my entire being right now. I did everything for dance. I took YouTube lessons on salsa, and I downloaded every Zumba video available. I’m no expert in dance…yet. It is only a matter of time and practice.
I smile at the rules now too. I enjoy them. Why? Because I enjoy the result it produces in me.
All of that, because I had a taste of it. I knew the rules weren’t meant to keep me out, but to keep me in stark enjoyment of the new dance, and to enjoy it.
Now, this is probably the only time I talk about dance in this series, and that may be weird considering the title of the series. But who cares? We all just want to get the point.
Humans are never going to be easily swayed into jumping on the Jesus train. Jesus could not do that, and He has warned us not to expect acceptance.
You see, a lot of people pose questions to Christians, and our answers do not even inspire them to jump on the bus, if we exactly want to tell the truth. In human endeavours, as I explained earlier in the series, humans mostly look at what they tend to gain. You really hit the nail on the head when you tell them this new life is not about them.
There, you lost them.
Which human exactly desires joy from pleasing another being? Another unseen being? That person is a rare breed.
Godlessness is the cause. You may wonder why I’m harping on this Godlessness chord. It’s because it is the truth. It is the whole truth, and why it sounds absurd, the Gospel.
In John 8, Jesus meets a huge problem in the hearts of the Jews He’s preaching to. They just seem to keep misinterpreting everything He’s saying. Most of them were. With every point He makes, more questions came in. I will explain purposeful questioning later. These questions were however not intended for elucidation, but for a trap, to justify themselves as right and prove Jesus wrong. I don’t know if Jesus was exasperated, but He clearly defined their problem in verses 23 and 24;
…“You’re tied down down to the mundane; I’m in touch with what is beyond your horizons. You live in terms of what you see and touch. I’m living on other terms. I told you that you were missing God in all this. You’re at a dead end. If you won’t believe I am who I say I am, you’re at the dead end of sins. You’re missing God in your lives” (MSG)
Of course, there was another question after He said this!
Typical, but that was a real sucker-punch for me. You are missing God? That said to the most religious people in the world! They were missing God.
They could quickly swear allegiance to Caesar whom they had never met personally, but had shown his conquering power through emissaries… But they could not believe Jesus was God, or sent from God, because He did not scream thunder and vomit fire. That would have been the “human” to do.
And it’s not far-fetched. These people had turned the idea of a law into an obsession of who was doing it better or who could get away with not obeying. It had become about self. Here was a man teaching them love for others and a true understanding of the person of God, and it was crazily difficult for them to grasp. God had never been the focus of their lives, so it seemed to them like Jesus was talking about something entirely different. Entirely different, because the image He was drawing up did not look like any human they knew.
They could relate with a powerful, conquering human, because that’s exactly what they would be like if they had the chance. That’s why they easily paid taxes to Rome and used currency from Rome. They could quickly swear allegiance to Caesar whom they had never met personally, but had shown his conquering power through emissaries. A Roman Centurion could easily use the authority of Caesar to put Jerusalem on her knees because it was a relate-able power. Simple law of the flesh. They did not want the wrath of a human, because he could cause serious physical and economic damage.
But they could not believe Jesus was God, or sent from God, because He did not scream thunder and vomit fire. That would have been the “human” to do. What is spirit, and what is spiritual damage? Puh-lease
Jesus did not become flesh in order to become flesh, if you know what I mean. He became flesh to show flesh the capacity and ability to carry God, and essentially, live as God. He came to restore Godliness.
That right there, does not make any sense at all. And that is the beauty.
Christianity is an exclusive club, the most exclusive in the entire world. Joining requires the simplest spiritual exercise, but the most excruciating physical exercise: surrendering self without being compelled.
You can also call that humility.
Jesus, speaking on the Mount of Olives, in the world’s most penetrating sermon, mentions that the quality of Christian is first characterised by a “poor” spirit. Poverty of the spirit, as it is sometimes called, is simply the realisation that you are not sufficient of you self, and that your purpose lies in someone greater than you. Someone Greater.
And that is the beginning of a transforming journey that brings you out of your self and into a divinity that is inexplicable.
You don’t see this easily. That’s why it is unbelievable. And that’s why belief is the only way in. Quite contradictory that you have to believe the unbelievable to get into the true reality. If this does not make sense to you, sorry. But if you get it, you get it. That’s the way it is. Ordinary people will get it, and they will be willing to surrender. The need for you to make human, logical sense of the need for salvation is the real reason you will not get it.
“Thank you Father… You’ve concealed your ways from sophisticates and know-it-alls, but spelled them out clearly to ordinary people… That is the way you like to work” (MSG)
All in all, surrendering to Jesus is not an easy human feat. It does not follow any human logic we have, and totally defies all intellect. But the moment you are able to think besides yourself for a little while, and think about the end of it all, this life I mean, you will see the relevancy and admissibility (the lawyer in me speaks) of Jesus Christ. It only requires that you become “ordinary”.
There is no other way in. You just have to believe He is everything, and you are nothing. You only become everything when you are in Him. And when you get in, you become free from the encumbrances (feeling quite lawyerly today) of this world. It becomes a no-holds-barred lifestyle.
This is a new dance. Like my salsa experience, you need to get in to understand it. It’s an upside-down world. You don’t get to enter because you like it, but you’ll like it because you’ve entered.
That is what faith is: making a move into the senseless. When you leave certainty for uncertainty, you will realise you just walked into the only certain future, the one that hold for you the greatest joy.
You only need to get your sophisticated self out of the way.