"Life is the destiny you are bound to refuse until you have consented to die."
-W.H. Auden, "For the Time Being"
This is a quote I found in one of Richard Rohr's great books entitled "Adam's Return: Five promises of Male Initiation. What really hit me in this quote is how much it echoes Jesus' paradoxical call. Jesus taught us that if we really want to embrace life, we must lose our life. Life is the destiny that we so often refuse. . .Do we truly recognize that we refuse to embrace our God given destiny when we hold dearly to our life as we know it? Are we willing to believe that letting go, releasing, surrendering, offering up our life is the pathway to life?
I'm not sure that 21st Century American Christianity has embraced the paradox that Jesus and Auden teach us. We stake claims in Jesus, but refuse to carry the load of the cross. We convince ourselves that we live the "good life", yet refuse to undergo death.
The difficulty with paradox is not that they are confusing. They are more than that. They are contradictory, counter-intuitive and even absurd. So, our God calls us to follow the absurd? Absolutely. Jesus followers embrace paradox because it was what He embraced.