Near Peoria, where I was to preach, I stood for two hours in sweltering heat opposite the Big Hook, with hound dog Elvis roaring at me continuously. (Who would have thought a little loudspeaker could make so much noise?) I was waiting to see my pastor friend go into free fall at the end of a bungee cord. England’s last hangman reckoned to do each job in 11 seconds flat, and John’s descent from the bungee cage (jerk-jerk-jerk-grounded) took hardly longer. He said it was worth every cent of the $60. I warned him that some columnist’s thoughts had struck me while waiting, and he could expect to meet himself soon in CT. He wasn’t worried; so here goes.
First thought: How different God makes us! John had looked forward to his jump for weeks; I would pay $60 any day not to have to do it. One Big Hook for me, however, is the 16 hours of Wagner’s Ring cycle, which some of my friends would gladly pay $60 not to have to listen to. Taste in what actually refreshes the spiritual system varies greatly from Christian to Christian, and folk wisdom says that tastes, being purely personal, should not be argued about. Not everyone gets re-created by the same things.
The fact is that God the Creator likes variety: so dispositional differences are there from birth, and they continue after new birth. Not only do those born again become more like each other in character through getting closer to their common Master, they also become more individual in taste. Maturing in Christ makes you more yourself than you were before. Therefore, just as I will not have anyone despising Wagner’s music (oh, sure, he was a nasty man, but that is not the point here), so I must take care not to sneer at bungee-jumping or Elvis or electronic music or Coke or anything ...1
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