[white chocolate theology]
A good friend of mine, Trino, mentioned this week that he can’t stand white chocolate. We chatted about this on my FB page, mostly tongue-in-a-cheek chat that usually happens between him and me.
In Russian, there is a saying, “Every joke has a bit of a joke” meaning that there is also a part of truth. I was thinking about this Facebook debate as to which chocolate is the best (or whether white chocolate can be counted as chocolate at all), when I had one of those RTAs (Random Thought Attacks).
I have been reflecting on the issue of Church, Christians, and authenticity a lot these days (due to all the blog posts and comments discussions with Bill, Michael, Dusty, Michelle, and others) and while chatting with Trino, I joked about having White Chocolate Theology in our lives sometimes.
White chocolate is a confection of sugar, cocoa butter, and milk solids. In contrast to the usual dark color of cocoa, white chocolate is pale yellow or ivory in appearance, which has led to the popular belief that white chocolate does not contain cocoa. However, since it is in the form of cocoa butter rather than cocoa solids derived from chocolate liquor (a necessary ingredient in all types of chocolate), white chocolate is not actually chocolate as defined by the US Food and Drug Administration.
In our freedom-of-religion countries, quite often lately we have been offered White Chocolate Theology (let’s call it WCT further on). WCT looks white therefore nice, it is very sweet, and the wrappers are most of the time similar to those of the milk / dark chocolate. However, although it does have cocoa butter, it does not have what real chocolate takes – cocoa solids.
What is a Christian? It is a follower of Jesus. What does a follower of Jesus mean?
If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross, and follow me.
Why would one take up a cross? Just to carry it for the fun of it? Maybe do some bodybuilding on the way to Heaven? Or is it what Paul was talking about?
My old self has been crucified with Christ.
Oooh, we don’t want to talk about that usually. How often do you think of actually dying? Seriously. That’s what happens when one’s being crucified – death.
Yes, there is resurrection (praise God! Otherwise there would be no point in dying to ourselves), but sometimes we forget about balance. Sometimes we focus too much on the gift that we have been given – eternal life; Jesus paid for our sins and we are free. Please note that I am by FAR not trying to downplay the reward, but with this gift, there comes a responsibility to live accordingly. Not to earn this gift, that’s impossible; but to THANK Him for the gift.
Sometimes I think that we, as Christians, are too carefree. I know I have my moments quite often when I just enjoy being His kid and… and that’s it. I substitute cocoa solids with cocoa butter. Sure, sounds the same, isn’t it? Cocoa this, cocoa that.
But it is not real chocolate! It is not real Christian life!
Just how often we hear about death in Church? (Funerals don’t count).
My all-time favorite writer, Ted Dekker, in his book When Heaven Weeps, wrote:
Q: “What does [Christ’s] kind of love feel like?”
A: “…Imagine mad desperation. Imagine a deep yearning that burns in your throat. Imagine begging to be with your lover in death. King Solomon characterized the feeling as a sickness in his songs. Shakespeare envisioned it as Romeo’s death. But Christ… Christ actually died for his love.”
Q: “And why do so few Christians associate love with death?”
A: “Just because they are Christians does not mean they are necessarily followers of Christ. Followers of Christ would characterize love this way because Christ himself did.”
Jan Jovic, The Dance of the Dead (from “When Heaven Weeps” by Ted Dekker)
Maybe it is just me, but so often I hear a watered-down theology, WCT… and gotta admit, sometimes it comes from my own mouth. I try to adjust the hard edges of the Truth, find a way around… why?
Oh God, there is still so much work to be done in me. Remind me that white chocolate is just a substitute for the real thing. Remind me that entire truth is way better than bits and pieces… I want the real deal.
…Even if it means dying.