Hope Starts Here. Sponsor a Child in Poverty
 Home: Articles: Hope for Life: The Pale Galilean
The Pale Galilean

The Pale Galilean

by on
Category: Hope for Life

"Thou hast conquered, O pale Galilean; the world has grown grey from thy breath."

Maybe you recognize this line from "Hymn to Proserpine" by Algernon Charles Swinburne; I remember reading the poem in a high school English course.

Swinburne, living in Victorian England, felt that Christian piety had sucked the joy out of life, forbidding the very things that bring pleasure to life. He longed for the days of unbridled paganism.

Sadly, Swinburne wasn't the first person to feel that way about Christianity, nor was he the last. Many look at Christians and see a somber lot, living a life filled with prohibitions. As the old line says, "Everything enjoyable is either illegal, immoral or fattening."

When you look at Jesus Christ himself, you see something very different. People looked at him and complained that he didn't follow enough rules. He went to parties with the wrong kind of people. Where other religious men lived ascetic lives, Jesus lived in a way that people accused him of being a glutton and a drunkard. The first recorded miracle that he performed involved providing wine for a marriage feast! Does that sound like a "pale Galilean"?

No! It's we Christians who have misunderstood what we're supposed to be. It's easy to think that saying no to everything is the best way to be holy. Even back in Bible times, this was a problem. The apostle Paul wrote to one church: "Since you died with Christ to the basic principles of this world, why, as though you still belonged to it, do you submit to its rules: 'Do not handle! Do not taste! Do not touch!'?" (Colossians 2:20-21). Even then, some thought that Christians were following a pale Galilean.

In his book "A Severe Mercy," Sheldon Vanuaken wrote:

The best argument for Christianity is Christians: their joy, their certainty, their completeness. But the strongest argument against Christianity is also Christians — when they are somber and joyless, when they are self-righteous and smug in complacent consecration, when they are narrow and repressive, then Christianity dies a thousand deaths.

If you think that Christianity is about living like a pale Galilean, you haven't been exposed to real Christianity. The Christian life is a life of joy, not sadness. It is a life of victory, not defeat. It is a life full of passion, not boredom.

Like Swinburne, I have no interest in following a pale Galilean. Unlike Swinburne, I know that Jesus Christ offers abundant life, colorful life, zestful life. If you'd like to know more about living a joyful life in Christ, contact me at tarcher@heraldoftruth.org or visit our HopeForLife.org website and join the discussion there.







(Expressed written consent must be obtained prior to republishing, retransmitting or otherwise reusing the content of this article. Contact us at info@hopeforlife.org)



Are you presently experiencing a new life? God's word says, "if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!"

This new life is a free gift of God through faith in Jesus Christ. If you want to know more about this life that only Jesus can give you, sign up for one of our Bible courses. Wherever you are in life, whatever you've done, you can begin again.

You may also contact us at info@hopeforlife.org if you have questions about becoming a new creation.

About the Author

Tim Archer
Tim works for Herald of Truth and writes for HopeForLife. He is the co-author of Letters From The Lamb, a book about the letters to the seven churches in Revelation. You can reach him by writing to tim@hopeforlife.org.

Comments on 'The Pale Galilean'



Heartlight by Email

Heartlight by Email
Get articles like this one
by email every weekday!


Other Daily Emails from Heartlight

Latest Articles

More from 'Hope for Life'

View Archives for Hope for Life

Subscribe via:
Subscribe via Email Subscribe via Facebook Subscribe via RSS