“He is not what we would make him.”

“He is not what we would make him.”

David Bentley Hart, in the February issue of First Things, tells of a old monk on Mt. Athos who told him this about Jesus. More context is helpful:

But it is wise to recall that the Christ of the gospels has always been—and will always remain—far more disturbing, uncanny, and scandalously contrary a figure than we usually like to admit. Or, as an old monk of Mount Athos once said to me, summing up what he believed he had learned from more than forty years of meditation on the gospels, “He is not what we would make him.”

This was the tail end of a short essay on the parable of the Rich Young Ruler and prominent but ill-conceived commentary on the Occupy movement by conservative Christians. Christians of every culture tend to make Jesus in their own image.

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