On the immensely popular television series Vikings, there is a character named Athelstan. He is a young priest, captured in a raid on Wessex by viking Ragnar Lothbrok and forced to live as a servant in a pagan norse culture. Eventually he wins Ragnar’s respect and affection and becomes his confidante. He returns to Wessex as a Viking translator, and is questioned about his evolving religious beliefs by the English. His response: ” I love Jesus Christ and I love Odin… I don’t know what else to say.” Although the first new pagan temple in a thousand years is currently being built in Iceland, I don’t think most of us are tempted to worship norse gods. We are, however, tempted to add other “loves” to our lives. Not denying Jesus, just mixing in whatever else appeals to us. In that, Athelstan is throughly postmodern. Perhaps a more North American example would be the new Kid Rock song Jesus and Bosephus. Bosephus is Hank William’s Jr.’s nickname. The lyric goes: ” I got Jesus and Bosephus/They both tell me how to live my life/ I got Jim Beam and my Bible/ With Jesus and Bosephus right here by my side.” Of course the crux of this dilemma, is that Christ and Odin have very divergent world views, and following Jesus and Hank Williams Jr. as role models will lead to two very different lifestyles. Talk about being conflicted! Yet, let’s face it, there are many Christians who want to have both Jim Beam and the Bible. We live in a Jesus And culture.
Jesus and gay rights (the religious left)
Jesus and guns (the religious right)
Jesus and materialism (the prosperity gospel)
Jesus and oprah (the Rob Bell Show)
Jesus and a really good sound system (pick an evangelical church)
Jesus and ______________ ( )
We can fill in the blank with almost anything. We have an incredible propensity to make Jesus over in our image, or at least the image of what we desire. But whatever we add to Jesus will eventually overshadow Jesus. And He will not be overshadowed. He has this crazy idea that He is Lord, and that everything else is to be overshadowed by Him! That’s the rub. Jesus And leaves us conflicted, without peace, and lacking spiritual authority. It doesn’t work. Faith only works when we are all in. All in isn’t trendy, relevant,or post-anything…but it works. Instead of duplicity, we have integrity. Instead of feeling restless we have contentment. Instead of faking it, we have power.
So in the midst of a Jesus And culture, even a Jesus And church culture, let’s be All in. Let’s let Jesus be over our desires. Let’s make Him Lord.