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May 13, 2009

Staying Invisible

Filed under: Religion And Theology — Vasilios Theodorakis @ 6:00 pm

There’s a Sci-Fi short story called “Lets Go To Golgotha” by Gary Kilworth which explores the idea that time travelling tourists were present at Christ’s death, got coached to do what the locals where doing and participated in His condemnation. The reader eventually discovers that the locals of Christ’s time had nothing to do with the event, and that the crucifixion only occurred because those who travelled back in time, participated in the spectacle.

The tale is quite haunting and I’ve often thought about its implications in regards to how much of a public figure Christ was in his own time. The thing that’s most intriguing, is that reading between the lines of scripture and what the traditional Church teaches, one can’t help but notice that Christ himself did not seek the limelight or even like it. The best supporting evidence we have of this is how He implemented numerous techniques that emphasised his own words and works but not Himself. One of these techniques was of course never writing anything down. In spite of this, His story has been passed down from generation to generation, and it’s often retold as though His presence brought Jerusalem to a stand still – on more than one occasion. I fear this is inconsistent with the nature of the God-Man, who we are told was quietly spoken and “did not even break the bent reed” (1 Ki 14:15; Isa 42:3; Mt 12:20).

Like many of the greatest figures in history, what he said and how he lived his life was so inspirational that people couldn’t help but place him on a pedestal for others to worship – our species has done this from the very beginning – idolising those who have something new to offer. I expect that He Himself was quite invisible outside of those who knew him. The message he left behind was so amazing however, that it changed the course of human history (and spread exponentially).

At the core of the oldest forms of Christianity, this humility is still acknowledged and followed. We who fall under the Orthodox Christian umbrella are taught to live our lives well, follow His example and not make a big deal out of our way of life. In the East, this approach is understood to be the best way of encouraging others to do the same. The original Christians, the Orthodox, still don’t proselytize as many of today’s Protestants do. Sincere Orthodox Christians offer up their lives as an example of the Faith – and in so doing, hope that people who choose to join the religion, do so because they like what they see in regards to the Orthodox lifestyle and worship.

Unfortunately our media driven world has led many people, even within Orthodox Christianity, to choose the opposite road to anonymity. The need to be the centre of attention is a very seductive thing – just like the rest of our Western lifestyles.

For better or for worse, I have tried to live my life the way I believe Christ did, though not always successfully. Rather than stand at the front and postulate, demanding that people look at me, I stand at the back and hope that what I have learnt and how I have lived is a helpful guide to others. My philosophy is therefore – “stay invisible”, for in so doing, you may in fact have a personal impact on those around you and you will in fact be following in Christ’s footsteps.

Cheers – Vasilios Theodorakis – May 2009

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