Friday, March 20, 2009

Aslan Isn't Safe--But He's Good

From Heaven is not My Home by Paul Marshall:

If we are ever going to change this trend and become a vital part of our world, we must begin to demonstrate that there is something vital and life-changing about Christianity. So much of Christian faith today is "nice." Cautious. Pleasant. Cheerful. Often if we are interesting to non-Christians at all, it is not because of our faith, but in spite of it. Christianity puts most people (often including ourselves) to sleep.

We have only to look at the example of our Lord to know that this is not the way our faith is to be lived. Whatever else Jesus was, and he was many things, he was never, ever "nice." (The term nice originally meant silly or stupid.) And he certainly wasn't boring. As Dorothy Sayers said:
The people who hanged Christ never, to do them justice, accused Him of being a bore; on the contrary, they thought Him too dynamic to be safe. It has been for later generations to muffle up that shattering personality and surround Him with an atomosphere of tedium. We have very efficiently pared the claws of the Lion of Judah, certified Him "meek and mild," and recommended Him as a fitting household pate for pale curates and pious old ladies.

To those who knew Him, however, He in no way suggested a milk-and-water person; they objected to Him as a dangerous firebrand. True, He was tender to the unfortunate, patient with honest inquirers, and humble before Heaven; but He insulted respectable clergyment by calling them hypocrites; He referred to King Herod as "that fox"; He went to parties in disreputable company and was looked upon as a "gluttonous man and a wine-bibber, a friend of publicans and sinners"; He assaulted indignant tradesmen and threw them and their belongings out of the Temple; He drove a coach-and-horses through a number of sacrosanct and hoary regulations; He cured diseases by any means that came handy, with a shocking casualness in the manner of other people's pigs and property; He showed no proper deference for wealth or social position.
[Dorothy Sayers quote from Creed or Chaos?]

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