Saturday, July 26, 2014

Tasty Jesus

A friend of mine is a commercial airline pilot. I asked him to work out some aviation figures for me. I wanted to see if I started a trip on an airplane and was one degree off-course at the outset of my trip from the target point of my destination how far away from it would I land. Here is what he calculated for me. If I were going from Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) to John F. Kennedy International (JFK) in New York City I would miss the airport by forty-three-miles. If I were going instead from LAX to London, I would miss London by ninety-five miles. If I were making a trip around the circumference of the world back to the place I started (LAX), I would miss it by five hundred miles. And if I were traveling to the moon (depending on my precise starting point) I would miss the moon by approximately 4,800 miles! Getting off course early on clearly can really screw things up, especially if you think it has little-to-no impact on your destination. My pilot friend added in his response to me the following statement: "Flying without GPS is challenging." I am sure it is. While I am no aviator I can appreciate the value of staying on course. One degree makes a lot of difference and distance only multiples error. This is true for pretty much anything, and theology is no exception. The further off-line we start, and the further away from the actual events we get, the more difficult it becomes to return to an accurate course. Before takeoff we might barrow a question from the old absurd comedy movie Airplane and ask: "What's our vector Victor?"

According to the Bible, getting Jesus right is quite literally a matter of life and death. In fact, in an important Pauline text and in a text from the pen of the apostle John, the importance of an accurate Christology is emphasized well beyond its cognitive impact. For Paul and John, getting the identity of Jesus correct is the difference between heresy and orthodoxy, right and wrong, heaven and hell. Just as taking off in an aircraft one degree in the wrong direction can put you in the ocean rather than on the landing strip, so starting wrong on your identification of Jesus can land you in a spiritual abyss.

Introduction of TASTY JESUS: Liberating Christ from the Power of Our Predilections
by Bryan F. Hurlbutt (forward by J.P. Moreland)

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