Yes, yes, I can hear your protests, and believe me, they are my own. Jesus Christ cannot be domesticated! I understand that. And my point is simple. While Christ cannot be tamed, I have effectively done just that, but only in my head. I domesticate him in the way I think about him, letting him into my life, but only so far, until my control is threatened and, in effect, I send him back to his room.
When you domesticate an animal, you place limits on its location. You fence it in so that it can serve you. Have I not done this in my attitudes about Christ? Have I not invited the most holy, powerful, creative entity in the universe into my life and then relegated him into a slot so that he can participate in my life when it is most convenient to me or when I am hungry?
Some of you are offended already. It is not my purpose to spit on the image of Christ. My purpose is honorable; it is to exalt him, to find him as the grand treasure that he is and to challenge myself (and you along the way) to see him every day, to a greater extent, in reality.
To do that, I must peel away, layer by layer, the belittling mental images that have clouded my vision like a mature cataract blocking away the brightness of the sun's rays. If I tramp on the feet of God's family, it is with the hope that we may discover and savor the wonder of all that Jesus is.
If you are a Christian, my hope is to rattle the cage of your faith a bit, to challenge you to think critically about how much the Jesus you serve resembles the real deal, the Jesus of the Bible. I hope that you will think of this as a conversation with a friend, a fellow seeker, honest enough to ask tough questions. I am an imperfect fellow, stained from my own experiences, both good and bad. Think of me as a comrade in arms, nestled down with you in the same trenches of life, whispering together about some of the questions that have dogged humans from the beginning.
Here's my problem. I'm terrified of putting this down on paper. There. I've admitted it. I am painfully aware of my shortcomings, both spiritually and intellectually. How is it that I possess the boldness to proceed into waters that scare me and threaten to derail my own faith?
Because I think we all have a similar, yet unspoken fear. And we need to get it out and talk about it. Christians don't have to hide and pretend there is no disconnect between our experience and what we see written in the pages of the Bible. We read stories of miracles, see a man who commanded waves and wind (and they obeyed!), took authority over demonic spirits, spoke breath into the dead, and we wonder, Do I really know Jesus?
If I have to be transparent, I'll admit that I'm terrified that if my eyes are opened someday to see everything in the light of truth, I will also see that the way I see the Jesus whom I claim as Lord is but a dim reflection of reality.
This fear is what drives me onward. I want to know him.
I'm afraid that I can never do justice in describing or explaining the majesty, power, and perfection of Jesus. That's the nature of human discussions, I suppose. No matter how high above my own experience I reach, I'll never be able to adequately pen the qualities of a perfect God. And so even my attempts to expose how I have domesticated Jesus will do just that: I'm bound to domesticate him further—to wrap him within pages of description implies that he is small enough to describe. To have humans speak of him, to write of him, implies that we can in some way wrap the human mind around him.