Friday, May 31, 2013

Self-Denial, Jesus, and the Self

Some fear that self-denial and humility mean the total abrogation of any sense of self or compassion and understanding for ones own feelings and convictions.  Some do not fear this at all... they masochistically love it.  And in the name of Christ they stamp "virtue" on it, as though it is what Jesus meant.  Willing doormats.  This is far from it, for the burial of self is not virtuous when one considers how it quenches any light of truth within us and hides it under a veneer of compliance and niceness.  They cloister themselves away as a means to control the world around them and avoid feeling the sting of walking in it.  Whether they are aware of it or not, it is a facade, a prison.  As a song goes, "I sold my voice to pay for my security.  Now I write my sentence on it's walls."

No, what Christ means in denying self, at least in part, is leaving behind our vain mechanisms for self-security and binding ourselves to Him.  As we are bound to Him, we can see others, and ourselves, through His eyes.  And when we see ourselves through His eyes we can see ourselves with compassion, as from the outside, and have compassion for the ways we feel and act, understanding that there is meaning in those things, there is importance to it and value in it, and as such we see others through His eyes as well, and through the reflection of ourselves through His eyes, and thereby we learn compassion for others.

"Self-denial can never be defined as some profusion -be it ever so great- of individual acts of self-torment or asceticism... Self-denial means knowing only Christ, and no longer oneself.  It means seeing only Christ, who goes ahead of us, and no longer the path that is too difficult for us.  Again, self-denial is saying only: He goes ahead of us, hold fast to him." (Bonhoeffer)

I would add that through binding ourself only to Christ we begin to know ourself as we see ourself, with Him, through His eyes.

I believe it is this way with ourselves in any good, close relationship where there is total closeness, total transparency, and total acceptance.  I think that is how God built us.  We know ourselves best and we learn compassion for ourselves and others as we let down our guards and develop closeness with another.  As we give ourselves to them, we can see ourselves through their eyes -not as a goal but as a byproduct of that closeness.  And where that closeness is lacking, where a person has never experienced that level of closeness, there is a shell, a self-abandoned person.  We do not truly know ourselves, I believe, until we know ourselves in the context of true closeness with the eyes of another who is present and loves us.  We don't truly know ourselves.  What we know, instead, is our facades and our reactions and ways of coping with and controlling the outcomes of this world.

If this is true, two things should not surprise us.  First, it should not surprise us that Jesus was the most "self-knowing" person we will ever meet, having existed since eternity past in total closeness and communion with the Father and Holy Spirit.  Second, it should not surprise us that when our union with Christ takes this same shape of closeness and binding (as it is meant to) we experience the same kind of thing to an infinitely higher degree? 

It is an irony, for some believe that freedom is found in being free of bonds, but the truth is that freedom is found in finding the right bond, the right binding, the right One (and ones) to be bound to.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

The Heart of the Gospel

Tell me if I am making a big deal out of a small point.  It is possible that I am mincing words, here...

But is the heart of the Christian faith "grace?"  Who would disagree with that? 

Well, I'm not disagreeing with it, but the problem with stopping there is that grace is an abstract thing.  Even your average died-in-the-wool doctrine-Pharisee would agree that "grace" is the heart of the Gospel.  They can tell you all about grace and how awesome it is... as an awesome concept.  They can rattle off Bible passages.  They can defend it to the hilt.

I used to do that... sometimes I still do.  It is an essential concept to understand, for by seeing grace you see everything else and learn to discern a great many errors.  I used to be blood-thirsty to defend Biblical doctrines of grace.  And I'm not here to drag that down.  I'm also not going to say I have "arrived" now, though I do think I lacked some maturity back then.  I'm also not trying to say that the doctrinally-obsessed only know of grace in an abstract way. 

I guess what I am saying is that concepts and doctrines are too easy to talk about in this way, too easy to take and make into a golden calf of sorts.  It is too easy to say, "Ahhh... yes... GRACE!  I love GRACE!" and adore the idea of grace, even God's grace, from our hearts, and then stop there.

But the Gospel is not merely about grace.  It is more than that.  The heart of the Christian faith, the heart of the Gospel, is that grace became concrete, real, earthy.  It is one step further than merely saying it is about "grace."

Is this a big deal?  It can be.  For example, I love the doctrine of justification.  We could argue that the heart of the Gospel is the doctrine of justification -how a man, a sinner, is declared right in God's sight by the work of Jesus on his behalf, given to him by grace through faith.  I love that truth.  I love it.  But, as John Piper pointed out in his book, "God is the Gospel," justification is not an end in itself.  If you stop there, it is just a concept.  Justification gives you God.  The whole point of the Gospel is the bring you to God.  Jesus did not die so that an abstract declaration could be made in the courtoom of God.  Jesus died so that you, a sinner, could be made right with God and then have God for your God and Father, your Keeper, your Husband, your Friend, your Master, your Lover.

Likewise, grace is not an end in itself.  As it says in the first chapter of John's gospel account, grace and truth were made manfiest.  The heart of the Gospel is that God meets us here, right down here on earth, and destroyed the barriers between us right here, on earth.  God's grace had feet and hands and a smile and a brow for thorns and a side for a spear.

Anything that makes me go "Awwwww..." with sentimental gush or think proudly and excitedly of great men with fluffy wigs and funny hats is, I think, a distraction.  I have less of a hard time getting distracted when I think of the concrete manifestation of God's grace rather than grace as a concept.  Besides, God seems to have gone through a lot of trouble, a lot of working in and through human history, to meet us in the way He did, so it seems only fitting that we should think about the things He has done for us in tangible rather than abstract terms, No?

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Superman and Jesus


On June 14, 2013 the new Superman movie, Man of Steel, hits theaters.  I can't wait.  I'm not much of a comic book nerd, but I've always loved the superhero stories and the recent wave of movies that have come out from them.

With age, perhaps, I've also become more attuned to symbolism in movies, especially with symbolism that points to Jesus and His Gospel. 

The Superman story seems to borrow in many ways from the Ultimate Hero story, the story of Jesus.  The parallels are not that difficult to see.  You have a hero who comes down from another world in meekness and humility, as a little baby, and is raised by small-town parents. He does his best to cloak his god-like powers under a veil of humanity but ultimately reveals himself as the savior of the world. Though he is seen as a freak and rejected by many, he gives himself to fight the battles that the human race is powerless to fight for itself.

But on the other hand, there is as sense in which the Superman story is nothing like the Jesus story. In some ways Superman represents the image of man's dreams of a savior, an anti-Jesus if you will. Jesus was confronted with this during His earthly ministry as his Jewish disciples hoped very much that he would be the Messiah who would save Israel from all its earthly and temporal troubles and give them back the promised land. They hoped for a hero would would "beat the bad guys", getting rid of those Romans and setting the people of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob free.

This is what made the crucifixion of Jesus so completely disorienting to them. They had seen the miracles. They had seen the mighty words. They knew He was the One. And suddenly He is taken from them and killed.

They were hoping for a different kind of Savior. In fact, if Superman was a real person and lived at that time, they would have chosen him over Jesus. And we would today, too. Superman is the kind of hero that fulfills this dream. He "beats the bad guys" right here, right now.  

Jesus is not like that.  He did some miraculous things.  And sure, He stood up to Satan and cast out demons.  But Jesus is a different kind of Hero. He did not come down here, at least the first time, to right every wrong in the sense that we all hope for. He didn't come to put an end to cancer and the sex-slave trade. He didn't come to put an end to abusive men and child molestors. He didn't come to put an end to poverty and feed the hungry. He didn't come to stop drug-dealers and tyrants.  He came to die. He came to save us in a different way, in a way we didn't really want: He came to reconcile us to God. He came to bring us to God and to make a new people, a new kingdom of "priests", that are at peace with God and, through that, at peace with each other. That kingdom will birth, in time, a new creation where all of those "bad guys" and "bad things" are gone, but it started like a seed... A grain of wheat that fell to the earth, died, and will turn into an abundant harvest.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Where is God found?

Ethereal, other-worldly.  Floating clouds, sunshine glinting and streaking through.  Blue skies. 


That is what we often envision when we think of God.  But I don't think that is what God wants us to envision.  I don't think God wants us to look at Him in that way.

"No one has ever seen God; the only-begotten God, who is at the Father's side, he has made him known."  (John 1:18)

"He is the image of the invisible God..."  (Colossians 1:15)

It is in our nature to want to look up and above and beyond the clouds, to want to climb up to heaven.  But God meets us somewhere else.  God meets us here, on earth.  He met us here in Jesus, His Son... the only-begotten, the image of the insible God, the exact represenation of His nature (Hebrews 1), fused inextricably with the finite, with humanity itself.

God is found where?  In a man.  We looked up in the clouds.  He came down to earth.  We look for strength and for a God who delivers the strong.  He came in weakness and delivers those who know they are weak.  We look for a God of answers and solutions.  He came and suffered, like a lamb led to the slaughter, and died on a Roman torture device, giving no answers.  We look for a God who fixes everything.  He gives us Himself.

Where is God found?  He is found in a man, Jesus.  He is found in Jesus suffering on the cross, suffering in this world beside and for us.  He is found in Jesus rising from the dead and walking out of the tomb.  Through and because of Him, He is found in the bread and wine.  He is found in Baptism.  He is found in and through the speaking of His Word.  No, I'm not talking about pantheism.  I'm talking about the God who comes down to meet us right down here and wants us to get our heads out of the clouds and meet Him here, as well. 

Next time you cry out for where God is, there is your answer.  It may not be the answer you like, it may not give you what you demand, but He doesn't require your approval.  There He is.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

New Thoughts on Baptism - Part 2

In continuation with my previous post, New Thoughts on Baptism, I offer a few more things that I have been thinking about.  For those of you who are history and theology buffs (and what I mean is that you can read outside of your own system or tradition and look for things you can appreciate and even assimilate if you believe if is Scriptural), you might recognize some of my recent leanings on Baptism as being pretty close to what the Lutheran tradition teaches.

 As one Lutheran theologian writes:
"In the Lutheran tradition, baptism is essentially a means by which God brings both forgiveness of sins and the gift of the Spirit. This is tethered to the incarnational theology of the Lutheran reformation. Since the 16th century, Lutheran theology has emphasized the “ordinary”or earthly nature of the means by which God communicates himself to his creation. For the Lutheran tradition, the finite is capable of containing the infinite. This frames several of the primary differences between the two strands of Reformation thought. In the Lutheran tradition, grace is not abstract and spontaneous but is tied to specific earthly means by which God communicates himself. This includes the word preached, Holy Absolution, the Eucharist, and Baptism." (An Explanation and Defense of the Lutheran Approach to Baptism by Jordan Cooper, M. Th)
Cooper underscores what I talked about briefly in my last post.  One of the biggest issues many of us have with what I will call a "real" and non-symbolic view of Baptism is that we cannot grasp how a physical substance like water could "do" anything.  It seems strange, even a hearken back to the Roman Catholic Church.  Surely we are past that kind of nonsense.  It seems almost superstitious.  Right?

But are we guilty of being a bunch of Naamans with such an attitude?  Do you remember the story of Naaman the leper?  Even my daughter's story Bible has this great narrative in it.  The story, found in 2 Kings 5, talks about an important man named Naaman who had leprosy.  He came to Elisha, the prophet, to be healed, but Elisha told one of his servants to instruct Naaman to wash in the river nearby (which, ironically, happened to be the Jordan).  Naaman balked at the instruction of Elisha.  He expected some kind of spiritual waving of hands, some kind of miraculous "faith healing".  He expected, perhaps even demanded, some kind of supernatural, ultra-spiritual miracle.  What he got was something very, very ordinary.  "Go wash in the Jordan river."  Eventually, the stubborn Naaman complied, washed in the water, and was healed on the spot.  Do we need to learn the lesson of Naaman, that God can and does deliver grace to us and even come to us through ordinary, tangible, earthy means... the finite containing the infinite?

Before I close, let's take a quick look at one verse for this post:
“In him also you were circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ, having been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through faith in the powerful working of God, who raised him from the dead.” (Colossians 2:11-12)
This verse is often used by Reformed folks to link Baptism and circumcision and thus prove that infants should be baptized.  I have no intention of going down that road, yet.  However, I do want to look at what Paul says about Baptism here.  There is a different kind of "circumcision" going on here.  It is a spiritual circumcision, one done without hands, the putting off of the flesh.  How?  By the "circumcision of Christ."  And in the words that follow, Paul links this "circumcision of Christ" with Baptism.  The effect, the spiritual working of Baptism, is this "circumcision of Christ."  It seems that, according to Paul, Baptism does something.  It does not merely symbolize something.

Friday, May 17, 2013

New Thoughts on Baptism

It seems like there is always a place for theological journey, a place for searching out unanswered questions and investigating points of view that seems so contrary to your understanding and experience.  I know that has happened to me with regards to many things.  In the past few years, it has happened with my view of the Lord's Supper, and more recently it is starting to happen to me in regards to Baptism.

One of the most profound works I have read in the past few years is a small book by the late Gerhard Forde called "Where God Meets Man."  Truly, there are some things in that book I still disagree with and which cause me to scratch my head, but some of the concepts in that little book helped complete some significant change in regards to my view on many things, including the Gospel and the Christian life in general.

There was one chapter entitled, "Treasure in earthen vessels."  It was about how God delivers grace to us through physical, tangible things -the Lord's Supper being the essential example and goal of the chapter.  A few years ago, that idea would have been utterly foreign to me.  But what I realized is that the entire Gospel bears witness to this fact.  For, what is the Gospel other than the fact that God delivers His grace to us in a tangible, earthen Vessel named Jesus of Nazareth?  The whole Gospel is about God coming down to earth, beyond the veil, and doing our salvation here, in our midst, in the tangible, earthen, real, natural.  That, after all, is where "God meets man" -He meets him right here, on earth, and that is where He saves him.  It is we who have the problem with that, constantly trying to climb our ladder to heaven, to insert ourselves or our knowledge and understanding or spirituality into the equation and to over-spiritualize everything.

Therefore, it is not a strange idea to think that the elements of the Lord's Supper actually do something or convey something of supernatural weight or effect and are therefore not merely symbols.  Truly, it is not mere bread or wine or juice that do something but those physical, tangible elements in conjunction with the word of the Gospel that bear the treasure, forgiveness, God Himself coming to us in simple, earthen things.

So, why not with Baptism?  To tell you the truth, I still could not reconcile many things, and I still can't.  For example, I still can't really embrace infant baptism.  However, the more this broader concept sinks in the more I have been receptive to the idea that Baptism, like the Lord's Supper, is not merely symbolism.  Could it be that water baptism, through the Word of the Gospel, is the earthen vessel through which
God does something?

There are two texts that I can't get out of my head, which are making me think and think.  The first is Acts 2:38.

37 Now when they heard this they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?” 38 And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself.” 40 And with many other words he bore witness and continued to exhort them, saying, “Save yourselves from this crooked generation.” 41 So those who received his word were baptized, and there were added that day about three thousand souls. (Acts 2:37-41)
Peter does at least two things here.  First, he links repentance and water baptism to the forgiveness of sins.  Second, he links the reception of the Holy Spirit with the preceding (i.e. with baptism).  Rather than seeing the "baptism with the Holy Spirit" as some kind of existential spiritual experience that comes later, and although the Holy Spirit had been working up a storm all during Pentecost, he connects receiving the Holy Spirit with repentance and water baptism, though I believe specifically with water baptism.  (After all, wasn't it at Jesus' water baptism that the Holy Spirit descended upon Him?)  I realize this leaves a ton of questions unanswered, but in my old age I admit that I get more used to living with unanswered questions and just looking at what the text says.

The other text that I want to look at is in the beginning of Romans 6.

1 What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? 2 By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it? 3 Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4 We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life. 5 For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his.(Rom 6:1-5)
This text has perplexed me for years.  I've read countless commentaries on this passage of Scripture so as to try and reconcile what seems to be the obvious conclusion from the text with what the rest of my theological system (ie. what I believed the broader context of the New Testament) taught.  I even remember reading one commentator suggest that "baptism" here must mean the actual Baptism with the Holy Spirit rather than mere water Baptism, even though that would be perhaps the only New Testament use of the Greek word that did not refer to water baptism.  Looking back, I notice the strained need to differentiate betwee the two, to split the Baptism of the Holy Spirit and water Baptism into separate things, with water baptism only being the symbol of it.

But look at it.  Paul's answer as to why free justification by grace alone through faith alone, as expounded in the preceding chapters, does not lead us to just sin more so that grace can do its job and abound more is that we died to sin and now live in identification with Christ in His resurrection.  And how?  Through what?  Water Baptism.  It seems to me, putting all the questions and objections aside, that the simplest reading of the text locates our supernatural union with Jesus, with the old man dying and a new man being raised, in Baptism.  Paul is not saying that the reason we can't live unto sin any more is because we partook of some symbol.  He does not distinguish between the alleged symbol and the actual means because, as it seems to me, he understands that Baptism is the actual means.  It seems to Paul that Baptism places you into Christ, not merely symbolically but actually.

Why won't we continue to sin so that grace may abound?  It is because we have been united with Christ in His death through Baptism.  So what?  Well, as Paul reasons in verse 5, if we have been actually united with Him in His death we are surely also united with Him in His resurrection.  In other words, through Baptism there is a new man walking and breathing in us.  Through that tangible, real act, we are not the same.

"It can't be... what about..."  Yes, I know.  There are many questions that come up.  But to me, those can be answered in time, too.  I'm not saying I am 100% convinced of this view.  I am saying, however, that I am more open to it, that it makes sense of a lot of texts that I could not understand before, and I am not averse to the idea that God does things through physical, tangible things and means.

Sunday, May 05, 2013

Making Enemies

I used to pride myself on having no enemies.  I sometimes still do find myself comparing myself to people who seem to always be in fights and arguments with people, always in some kind of war with people on one side and others thrown on the other.  But I don't think not having enemies is such a good thing anymore.  In fact, it concerns me.

Why?  Jesus had enemies.  Jesus is the prime example that if you live your life truly and authentically, and even if you do it all right and never sin, you will be hated by people.  The other reason, in line with this, is that the more I understand myself the more I see how much of my life has been spent unconsiously avoiding situations that could potentially trigger feelings of pain and anger related to rejection.  Don't wanna feel that, so instead I throw a wet-blanket over myself, smile, and be nice and compliant.

But in the meantime I lose myself.  I don't just lose the bad feelings, I lose the good ones, too.  I lose my passion and dreams, my life and my shine.  I lose myself in trying to manage outcomes and keep the machinery of my life going the way I hope it will, I lose myself to the torturous prison of worry and control, trying to make sure everyone is happy with me yet cringing inside at how I know few people who know me actually respect me.  They know me differently.  They see a person who has spent years always being nice, garnering support from the masses with how "nice" he is, and yet at home I can switch from being compliant and sweet to argumentative, withdrawn, sullen, and angry.

Why?  Because living behind a mask sucks.  All that energy you hide has to go somewhere eventually.  And how can you really feel happy when you swallow all those negative feelings down into your own belly every day?  Yum!  Yet everyone wears masks to some degree, though maybe not masks I have worn.

No, I don't think the solution is to be a jerk or to not care about what people think.  I've met plenty of people who at least claim and appear to not care about what others think, and many times they can be callous and insensitive and arrogant.  Their "not-caring" about what others think flows out of an angry dismissal of others.  It flows from a wound, not from health.  It shows how much you do care about what others, usually certain people in particular, think about you, but you still carry the hurt around like a weight you will not put down.  Why trade one mask for another?  They both just torture you.

I obviously don't think the solution is to find ways to make more enemies.  That would be a simplistic answer to a deeper problem.  You cannot do symptom management.  You cannot try to offset one bad effect by balancing it out with the opposite effect.  That doesn't really work, and how would you ever really know if you were balancing them well?  "Hmm... it has been two weeks since I've had an argument.  I'd better pick a fight and find some innocuous thing to stand for and argue about."

I offer no formula to answer this.  I merely point out the problem and hope to show the desired destination -to be like Jesus.  He was not controlled by the opinions of others, yet He was not callous or unfeeling.  He was not a balance between the two.  He operated in a totally different realm.  He was free, fully Himself, fully who God made Him to be. 

All I know is that is where I want to be, not just because it is free but because He is there.  It won't be roses.  Life won't be easier.  It may be harder.  But it will be better, and I will not be alone, for that is where my Friend walks in the cool of the evening breeze.

Thursday, May 02, 2013

Taking this World as it is

The original form of the "serenity prayer", attributed to Dr. Reinhold Niebuhr, goes like this:

God, give me grace to accept with serenity
the things that cannot be changed,
Courage to change the things
which should be changed,
and the Wisdom to distinguish
the one from the other.
Living one day at a time,
Enjoying one moment at a time,
Accepting hardship as a pathway to peace,
Taking, as Jesus did,
This sinful world as it is,

Not as I would have it,
Trusting that You will make all things right,
If I surrender to Your will,
So that I may be reasonably happy in this life,
And supremely happy with You forever in the next.
Amen.

I highlighted a particular phrase in the prayer because it has been wrestling with me lately.  This is much harder than it seems at first glance.  If you are like me, you want to say to God, "Wake me up when it's over."  Most of us live this way and we don't even know it.  We live in a form of unconscious retreat.  It beats feeling all the things living in this world makes you feel.  So, we join the rest of the sleep-walkers out there, walking through life with a kind of numb facade made up of how we want others to perceive us, how we want to feel, and how we want things to be.   But that is not where Jesus is.  Jesus is among the awake... and it is lonely there.  To stay "awake", to face this world as it is, to be around people every day and face fully and completely all the feelings being around them provokes... it is a lot.  It is much easier to stay asleep and tell mom to wake you up when it's over.  

To take this sinful world as it is, to me, means the following:  you walk in this world with a sober acceptance of the fact that you walk among people who will not meet you as you are, not connect with you directly, throw smoke screens in your face, reject you, abandon you, try to placate and please you, pretend with you, go limp on you, demand of you, and essentially do anything they can to avoid having close, meaningful connection in every encounter and yet you do not retreat, you do not numb yourself oute, and you do not bury yourself and hide.

That is what Jesus did.  That is what God does and has done.  That list above -the rejection, the abandonment, the fake pleasing, the pretending, the demanding, etc. -that is what we have done to God ever since the fall of man.  And we wonder why God takes this so personally?  We wonder why God gets angry?  We wonder why God refers to us, his "bride", as adultresses and whores?  It is because we were made for connection with Him... and yet we are all asleep, busy busy with nonsense and our talking in our sleep, too preoccupied with everything else to care.  And then we just imagine away this God and imagine a god who is just as asleep and numb as we are... doting on us with gifts when we ask, smiling with a half-stoned grin from up in heaven, perfectly content with us living our lives completely disconnected from and uninterested in Him, never really wanting or demanding to have us. 

Sound about right?  Maybe its cool to be spiritual a little bit, but why does the Bible show God as being so jealous?  What's all this talk about Him having His Son die for us to absorb His wrath?  What could all of that be about?  We haven't done anything... we just are trying to live our lives... asleep... to Him.  Hmmm...

"The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel" (which means 'God with us')."  (Matthew 1:23)

"No one has ever seen God; but the only-begotten God [Jesus], who is at the Father’s side, he has made him known." (John 1:18)

Could it be that God wants to be "with us???"  Could it be that God wants to be "known???"  Could that possibly be behind all of this business as to why He sent His Son down here, to where we are, to rescue us and reconcile the break between us?

But back to us.  If you live around others and don't feel pangs of hurt or anger every day, sometimes countless times a day, you are numb.  If you just feel anxiety, you are numb.  If life is a party, you are numb.  If you don't "have time to feel" because you are "too busy," you are numb.  You are asleep.  You aren't taking this sinful world as it is.  You ran away a long time ago.  Your soul is asleep to it.   And I don't blame you.  I am only recently discovering what on earth this means.  I don't judge you.  Almost every fiber of me still wants to go back to sleep, and often I do.  It is easier, for sure.  But Jesus isn't there, not really.  And to drink your potion and fall back to sleep, you need to fall back to sleep on Him.  "Sorry, Jesus... I'm going back to sleep.  Wake me up when it is over.  Been nice hanging out for a moment."  

Or... we can live where He lives... taking this world as it is... facing and experiencing this world as it is without running...  Jesus lives on the hard side, not the easy, sleepy side.  But do you want to wake up?