Dr. Harry Kraus on How the Church Has Domesticated Jesus
- Thursday, October 21, 2010
And I also know that this Jesus was present at creation, and He made this galaxy and a billion others and so, therefore, He is kind of beyond gettable. Is that a word? He is beyond gettable! And perhaps in some way, we have to domesticate Him. We have to bring Him down small enough just for language to contain Him, because my mind is going to explode with trying to understand Him because I can't. He is not gettable.
CW: If that is true, why would we even try to place limits on God? HK: I don't think we try. I just think it is something that we fall into because we are so limited, and we have to build a mental construct of God just so we have a frame of reference, unfortunately. As we go through life and we understand more and more of His holiness, He is going to blow away every little mental construct I have.
And what this book is about is looking at the little ways in our life—maybe it is through anxiety, or fear of the future, or doubt, or guilt—these things we should take and go, wait a minute! What is this saying about the size of the God I believe in? And what am I really believing? Do I really believe the gospel? It is transformative now, not just something for a ticket out of hell. It is so much bigger than that. And the God of the gospel is so much bigger than that.
CW: Do you think it is just way too challenging for some folks to read about the Son of Man having no place to lay his head, or saying give away all of your possessions and follow? Are these claims just too hard for some people to accept? We like the moral side of what Jesus represents, but the true radical nature of who He was and what He preaches... is that just too hard for us?
HK: No. I mean, yes, it is hard, but is it too hard? I don't think so, but we have to become small people with a big God. We don't have to think this is such a big thing or we cannot do it. That is a great place to start. Grace finds its perfection in weakness. All of these examples that I use in the book about how I just tend to make Jesus look small, that is my ticket [to the conversation]. If it was all about God being pleased with me because of the books I have written or the surgeries I have done or the service I had as a missionary, well then I would be promoting a concept called wages. But, man, I am promoting grace, grace, grace. This is not about me getting credit. I want Jesus to be treasured, and that is it.
CW: Can you tell us a little bit about how, in a non-fiction book, you have incorporated a bit of a fictional storyline? HK: Well, most of my readership knows me from being a novelist. Books like, Could I Have This Dance? or my most recent title, The Six-Liter Club, these are stories, and we write stories to impact people emotionally. And that is why I incorporate story in this book. It is partially because illustration is such a good way to teach a message, and you do that because it does not threaten the reader quite as much.
You don't say, "You have got this problem, and here is the answer." You say, "Look at Bob. Bob is struggling with addiction. And here is how Bob's day went." And the reader suddenly goes, "Wait a minute. I do that! Ooh, I recognize myself there." And I am just giving the reader a chance to put off on Bob, and it becomes a less threatening way to learn. But also, look around on a Sunday morning when your pastor says, "Let me tell you a story." Everybody straightens up a bit, and their heads lift, and they want to hear the story because we all have stories, and that is the way we experience life. That is the way we learn.
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