According to Willard, if Jesus is so significant to most people in America, why do you think we pursue personal and governmental directions as if He is a "damaged antique?"

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The characterization of the "damaged antique" is to highlight what Willard considers the shallow and non- substantive approach to spirituality with modern believes of Christ.  The appropriation of Christ as a "damaged antique" reflects how the teachings of the divine are approached with a sense of hesitancy, and a lack of thorough commitment.  Such a characterization is consistent with other like it in the work, such as "bumper- sticker faith" and "consumer Christianity."  This characterization brings to light how there is a stated belief in Jesus, but a lack of full immersion into how the workings of the divine can be evident and real in a practical day to day existence.  It is this notion of divide between the stated belief in Christianity and its full immersion that causes individuals to approach Jesus like a "damaged antique."

The issue that Willard makes is that in treating personal and governmental directions with Jesus as if he is a "damaged antique," it prevents individuals from fully recognizing that embracing and actualizing the teachings of Christ can enable realization of "the first Heaven," the world of the now.  Willard's point is that there is a denial of bringing Jesus and his teachings into reality when he is appropriated as a "damaged antique," something that has to be treated with a sense of distance and a sense of detached in relation to the real world.  It is here where Willard argues that such treatment reflects a refusal or ignorance to see how Jesus' teachings can be directly applied and embraced to the life we live.

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