Posted by: Dan | October 25, 2005

Immortality?

I don't want to achieve immortality through my work… I want to achieve it through not dying.
~ Woody Allen

One of the advantages of living in a Christian community house is what I find stuck to the fridge. Not too long ago one of my housemates ripped and ad out of a Christian mag and posted it. It is an ad for a Christian school of leadership development and it features a picture of a young woman with her hands folded in prayer looking pensively(?) at the camera. The background is dark but a charcoal coloured cross is clearly visible in the centre. In large letters at the top the ad asks, What are you willing to die for? Then, in a smaller font at the side (beside the young woman) it says this, “My life matters and it won't be wasted. I will leave my mark on this world even if I have to die in the process.”

So, we all had a good laugh (the program is also explicitly for single men and women) but the ad got me thinking. You see, when it comes down to it, I think this ad has a lot more to do with paganism than it has to do with Christianity. The emphasis of the ad is on doing something that leaves a mark on the world. Doing something so lasting that it's worth dying for. Yet this essentially buys into a pagan understanding of immortality. We gain immortality through what we do, we do something that means we are never forgotten, we live forever through the impact of what we've done and in the memories of others. But Christianity asserts that we approach things from a fundamentally different perspective. As Christians our primary focus is not on making a difference in the world. Our primary focus is on being faithful to Jesus (of course if we are faithful we will make a difference but this is secondary and may not even by recognisable to us). That's why I began with the Woody Allen quote. Christians also should have little interest in gaining immortality through our work. Yet, unlike Woody, we are not afraid of dying but are granted the promise of new life rooted in Jesus' resurrection. Because of this assurance we are not afraid to live faithfully no matter how worthless, wrong-headed, and inconsequential such a lifestyle may appear to be.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Categories

%d bloggers like this: