Wednesday, September 13, 2006

A skeptic doubts his doubts

The haunting of Jesus the Christ

Why should He vex me? Why is His ghost not friendlier?

Why can't I just be a good Enlightenment child and see in His life a sustaining example of what we can be, as a species?

Because once you've known Him as God, it's hard to find comfort in the man. The sheer sensation of life that comes with a total, all-pervading notion of being – the pulse of consequence one projects onto even the humblest things – the pull of that won't slacken.

And one has doubts about one's doubts.

So writes agnostic John Sullivan, in a most poignant and exquisite GQ article, artfully titled: “Upon This Rock: Rock music used to be a safe haven for degenerates and rebels. Until it found Jesus.” The article starts out as an intended exposé on Christian rock music, but somewhere along the way it turns into a devastating critique of modern Christianity – and a heart-rending expression of a skeptic's heart. [warning: agnostic writing, language alert]

As I read this article, I was reminded of something George MacDonald said in relation to rejection of Christianity. MacDonald said something to the effect that to reject what was false in Christianity is not the same as rejecting Christ, that to reject the false wrapping of God is not to reject God; indeed, rejecting the false is a necessary part of relating to the true.

Sullivan lost his faith years ago at a Petra concert, looking in the blank, opium-like eyes of the seekers. And to this day, he seems wracked by the contradiction between the reality of Christ and the non-reality of many who claim His name, loving what is true in faith yet sickened by the the native handed bread in a cellophane wrapper, who chokes on the wrapper while eating the bread -- never knowing that the wrapper wasn't part of the essence.

Sullivan writes with self-depreciating irony, a high-wire act of intellectual detachment and deep, scathing questions. His article is fascinating on several levels...the potent words, the raw emotions, the integrous challenge to Christendom.

Above all, it is an insightful glimpse into the postmodern rejection of Christianity. For those who wonder why this generation of megachurch Christianity is also paralleled by the greatest loss of [Christian] faith ever recorded in the West, read this article and wonder no more...

For those who search and would hear an answer of the Living Christ, 'if only they could believe,' read this article and see yourself. Along the way there may be light, and in that light, an Answer.

And on your way consider these words: perhaps a Petra concert is a great place to lose your faith, if in that loss there is found the power to know the difference between the cellophane and the bread, the Bread of Life and those who sincerely market Him in deadly, sub-cultural trappings...


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