Recovering from Conversion

Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.

-Paul the Apostle (according to Philippians 2:5-8)

I’ve never been comfortable with the phrase accept Jesus as your personal savior. It smacks of narcissism, conjuring in my weird imagination cartoons of God as a kind of trophy or idol. I picture a small, squat talisman whose belly is rubbed for good luck or a tickle-me-personal-savior-god you might find on the shelf of your favorite toy seller. The phrase smells of consumer marketing. Step right down and get your very own personal savior today. Act now! For a limited time, you too can have a personal Jesus! Is he a product we’re selling? A new philosophy? Some form of iconic personal deliverance? Or is there something far less appealing behind the shiny bottle of snake oil? Something the marketing experts might want to cover up? Jesus-as-personal-savior seems to me a remarkable contrast to the call of Jesus who asks us not to “accept” him but, in the words of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, “bids us … come and die.” From the personal savior angle, death to self must be a part of the fine print. Continue reading “Recovering from Conversion”