Born Again Christianity

Born Again Christianity. It’s a terminology well known in American culture. It’s an alternative name for Evangelicalism. It emphasizes the event that launches a journey with Jesus. I’ve experienced being born again. I know exactly when it happened: November 9, 1974. I was fifteen years old (which seems so much younger than it used to). My encounter with Jesus was so profound that to this day I view my life as either before or after this event. But in giving this blog the title “Born Again Christianity” I’m not talking about the evangelical understanding of conversion, but about the mysterious fact that my Christianity seems to have been born again.

My journey of divine discovery over the past few years has given me new eyes. I see things in a new light. Instead of viewing Christianity as a formulistic program for getting into heaven, I now see Christianity for what it really is: The Kingdom of Heaven.

Unless one is born again he cannot see the Kingdom of God.

-Jesus (John 3:3)

My Christianity has been born again. A metamorphosis that has made my Christianity bigger, more profound, more mysterious and more beautiful.

Like this.

Feel like my soul is beginning to expand
Look into my heart and you will sort of understand

-Bob Dylan (Thunder On The Mountain)

The only time Jesus talked about being born again was during His late night conversation with Nicodemus. Nicodemus was a good man and an eminant teacher of the Law in the didactic method of the Pharisaic tradition. Coming from his formulistic approach in understanding God’s interaction with man, Nicodemus had a difficult time grasping what Jesus was getting at in talking about being born again. I think we often have the same difficulty. I’ll say this much, to use Jesus’ conversation with Nicodemus to teach a step-by-step didactical formula for entering the Kingdom of God is to completely miss the point!

In His encounter with “Nick at Nite” Jesus says,

“Don’t be surprised at my statement that you must be born again. Just as you can hear the wind but can’t tell where it comes from or where it’s going, so you can’t explain how people are born of the spirit.” (John 3:7-8, New Living Translation)

The key to understanding what Jesus is saying here is often lost on English speaking readers because we fail to see that in the original language the word for wind and the word for Spirit are the exact same word! So what Jesus said is really this:

“Don’t be surprised at my statement that you must be born again. Just as you can hear the wind but can’t tell where it comes from or where it’s going, so you can’t explain how people are born of the wind of God.”

I love to hear the stories of how people come to Jesus. In listening to these stories I’ve noticed that in real life there isn’t much of a formula for how people enter the Kingdom, other than they have a supernatural encounter with Jesus. The truth is we don’t find salvation through a plan, but through a Person.

I like this thought about being born again:

“Being born again of the Spirit is an unmistakable work of God; it’s as mysterious as the wind, as surprising as God Himself. Being born again from above is a perennial, perpetual and eternal beginning — a freshness all the time in thinking, and in talking, and in living. It is the continual surprise of the life of God.” -Oswald Chambers, My Utmost For His Highest

Well, anyway, these are some my thoughts.

Here are ten more unrelated thoughts:

1. Fall is here — my favorite season.

2. My mind is in Israel. My body will follow next month.

3. 5767 is going to be a good year.

4. I knew the Chiefs would win yesterday. Even when they were down 14-0. I called the Ty Law interception right before it happened. I really did. Ask Philip.

5. The Pittsburg Steelers aren’t very good. The Oakland Raiders are horrible. (Yeah!)

6. I love the Leeland debut album, Sound of Melodies.

7. I think you are going to be glad I had the foresight to book Leeland to be at Word of Life on March 21.

8. This is a great verse…

Thunder on the mountain, and there’s fires on the moon
A ruckus in the alley and the Son will be here soon
Today’s the day, gonna grab my trombone and blow
Well, there’s hot stuff here and it’s everywhere I go

9. Politics are ridiculous. It’s hard to keep a straight face.

10. I should go eat a bowl of chili.