Tuesday, July 18, 2023

Too Radical

 “He has delivered us from the dominion of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son…

He is the image of the invisible God, the first-born of all creation; for in him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or authorities—all things were created through him and for him.”

Colossians 1:13;15-16

As a conservative evangelical Christian I struggled with the meaning of Colossians 1:13. What exactly is the ‘dominion of darkness’? The radio preachers I was listening to at the time weren’t much help; it seemed to me they had all lived charmed Christian lives since childhood, never struggled with personal sin and, as a result, specialized in theory (renamed ‘theology’). I had a head full of knowledge-head knowledge-but no real transformation. Eventually I came to believe they were all saying something different and just quit listening altogether. 

All this was happening in the ‘90’s, a time when evangelicals appropriated the old hippie counterculture phrase “tune in, turn out, and drop out”. They had the ‘drop out’ part down pat-‘Christian music’ (most of which was very poorly produced, although there were a few bright spots), Christian books, Christian TV. You name it-slap the word’Christian’ in front of anything and you had instant credibility among the faithful. I actually had a ‘Christian’ yellow pages for businesses. 

I’m sorry not say my local Presbyterian church-where I was ordained as an elder-was not much help either (long story there). Eventually, much to the chagrin of my family, I reclaimed my Catholic faith. I might have been ok there but after my marriage broke up and I remarried (another long story) that avenue was closed to me, and to my new wife (also Catholic).

I’m not sure exactly what happened, or how, or even when (perhaps the culture shock of moving bro Northwest Florida) but I suspect it was a combination of discovering an excellent Presbyterian church where my wife and I were fully welcomed, my time as an adult student at Geneva College, and finally coming under the influence of the writings of Richard Rohr and N.T.Wright. Whatever the reasons, slowly a transformation in my thinking occurred.

The Gospel, simply put, is this. God came down and showed us how God intends for us to live. God allowed himself to be tortured, executed, and was resurrected so we can live the life he showed us.