“Everybody’s talking and no one say a word; always something happening and nothing going on; there’s always something cooking and nothing in the pot; everybody’s running and no one makes a move; everybody’s flying and no one leaves the ground.”
Everyone wants Christianity to translate into immediately known categories. Everyone wants the relevancy of “changed lives” and those lives to “change the world,” whatever that really means. The result can be Christians holding out more a pagan theology than a Christian one when it comes to just what is happening in the mystery of God’s inner work. Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain and forget the fact that Christians appear no different than pagans, or that said mystery is created and confirmed in such uncharismatic elements like words, water, bread and wine. Forget all that and force a theology of glory that suggests we can indeed transcend our own humanity in one way or another. There are all sorts of ways to have your best life now, from the crass to sophisticated and all stops in between. That is a lot of flying for never leaving the ground.
“The new birth – conversion and repentance – now that’s a completely different kettle of fish. God assails me from out of nowhere in judgment by His Word and Spirit; nails me, brings me to the point of agreeing with His judgment about me, and then executes me. And then through that pulls me out through the other side alive with Christ out at the other end as new creatures (sic)… It’s called mortification (dying to self) and vivification (living to God in Jesus Christ). And it doesn’t just happen once, but every day until we’re glorified. Furthermore, it’s something that God does to us through His Word of Law and Gospel. Not something that we can do for ourselves, through our own clever programs.”
Could it be that the “before and after shot” of the new birth properly understood is not quite as attractive and winsome as we naturally think? Could it be that despite the call to stomp on his records in 1966 that by the time 1984 rolled around Lennon’s dumber statements about Christianity were made up for by a grasp on the apparent conflict between the theology of glory and that of the Cross?
“Everyone’s a winner and no one seems to lose. There’s a little yellow idol to the north of Katmandu.”
Little idol indeed.