I began reading Tolstoy today. I've heard his name mentioned so often, but have never read him. I'm not sure how I escaped War and Peace in high school, but it must have been replaced with Joyce's, Portrait of an Artist as a Young Man, in our AP curriculum.
In the opening to What I Believe, the prequel to The Kingdom of God is in You, Tolstoy describes his discovery in Christ:
I now no longer care for the things that I had prized, and I have begun to desire things concerning which I had formerly been indifferent. Like a man who, going out on business, on his way suddenly becomes convinced of the futility of that business and turns back; and all that stood to the right now stands to the left, and all that was to the left is now to the right; his wish to be as far from home as possible is changed to the desire of being as near home as possible so, I may say, the whole aim and purpose of my life has been changed; my desires are no more what they have been. For me, good and evil have changed places. This experience came through my apprehending the doctrine of Christ in an altogether different way, and seeing it in quite a new light.
I wonder how many people describe their discovery of Christ in this way. All too often I hear a "hole in your heart" message, where a preacher describes how Jesus will complete your life, make your "good" life even better, Kind of like Renée Zellweger did for Tom Cruise in Jerry Maguire. We seldom hear the message, "Come, follow Jesus. Forget everything that you know, get uncomfortable, get confused, stand on your head, loose yourself."
Lately, as I reimagine Christianity, I find myself like Tolstoy feeling like my left is my right. I struggle to recover from the whiplash pains caused by recognizing Jesus' mission and words, and running to catch up with Christ in my attempt to follow him.
May our aims, purposes and desires be shifted to resemble those of Jesus'.