Tuesday, June 25, 2024

Young Pup Explains ‘James Bond Christians’ 

In St. Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians, chapter 15, he discussed the heart of the Christian faith, which is belief in the Resurrection. Here are some thoughts on that passage, written almost 30 years ago, in the final chapter of a little book by a naïve young pup:

"There are a lot of earthly benefits to being a Christian….But if there is no hope for eternal life, if the secular humanists are correct that life is a random, meaningless accident which ends tragically at the moment of death, then we might as well crack open a bottle of tequila and max out the VISA and MasterCard right now. 

"The hope and faith in eternal life is the key difference between Christians and secular humanists….This assurance, this hope, this confidence in eternal life makes all the difference. It is what allows us to live as 'James Bond Christians.' 

"Well, OK, I’d better explain that one: 

"When I was a kid, I just loved those James Bond movies….The greatest thing about the character, Agent 007, was that no matter how perilous the situation became, he was always as cool as a cucumber. It was as if he KNEW no harm could ever come to him. 

"I can remember thinking that it would be so great to KNOW that my life was part of a grand script…and that no matter how awful a situation might be, everything would ultimately turn out fine. Then I could relax and not be scared and maybe be almost as cool as James Bond. 
"Well, despite being a weird analogy, this is what the Christian faith allows us to do. God has assured us that we are part of his grand plan in which we shall be victorious. When an eternal perspective is added to our natural life-span, we are able to realize that no matter what happens here and now, our ultimate fate is victory and glory. 

"With a faith and a hope such as this, we can handle whatever comes our way just like 'James Bond Christians.' We simply know that God has prepared in advance a marvelous place for us for all eternity. 

"In conclusion…when it comes time for my funeral, I don’t want any weeping or hand-wringing, understand? Save the tears and flowers for some other occasion and have a graduation party instead."

Oh, wasn’t he so cute, with his cock-sure optimism, split infinitives, and misuse of the words “which” and “that”? Don’t you just want to give that mid-1990s guy a big hug? 

But overall, he made a reasonably good point. Our faith in the Resurrection allows us to have confidence in eternal life. And it allows us even to laugh in the face of death, as St. Paul did: “Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?” (1 Corinthians 15:55). 
God never promised our journey here on earth would be easy — something the pup began to learn in recent years. However, despite our trials and tribulations, we still can be joyful and confident because our God is more powerful than death. 

The Resurrection and eternal life make all the difference. The truth of the Resurrection and the promise of eternal life allow us to be shaken, but not stirred. (Sorry, I had to say that.) We face many difficulties, but when we put our faith in Jesus and cling to His promises, we will never be defeated.

(Oh, by the way, the young pup who wrote those words three decades ago? Yeah, that was me.)

1 comment:

  1. Or, alternately, we can be as the monks of the Weston Vermont Priory sing in one of their songs...."The gift of life we have been for each other."

    Yes, be the gift of life to others. No, life won't turn out well in the end. But if you can help feed a hungry person, or sit with a lonely one or hold a hurting friend that turns out right. Very much so......That's what makes life worthwhile and rich......even if it is eventually over......the hungry person or the lonely or hurting person was comforted. Their suffering was reduced. That matters.

    Ruth O'Keefe