A Come-to-Jesus Moment about Come-to-Jesus Moments

The phrase “a come-to-jesus moment” has in recent decades taken on something of a more figurative, secular meaning in the English language. It now indicates any time of realization of and rededication to a new and better path. The expression can even refer to the difficult conversation or confrontation—the “intervention,” if you will—needed in order to impel another toward such a change in life direction. Whenever someone says “we need to have a come-to-Jesus moment,” you immediately know you’re about to get a talking to. 

In this post, I want to have a come-to-Jesus moment about what this idiom initially referred to in the context of the revival-style religious services where it first arose. And that is: conversion

Originally, a “come to jesus” moment was that instant when a wretched soul stood convicted of unrighteousness before God and the whole church congregation, stricken beneath the tough-loving verbal lashings of powerful preaching. At such a turning point, the individual recognizes they are a sinner and decides to repent, rededicating themselves to a morally straighter “walk with Jesus.”

As a Satanist, I should probably be all for conversion experiences—well, except for the “walk with Jesus” part. After all, I’ve written at length about identity-play and expressive self-presentation as central to the Satanic enterprise. And what is conversion but an expression of quintessential self-remaking? 

Instead, though, I find myself immediately suspicious of converts and their conversion narratives. Maybe it’s because of the endless cycling in our news media of the vicious circle of abuse committed by public personae, followed by equally public calls for “cancellation,” then a performance of mea culpa by the offender whose livelihood and public standing have been imperiled, the whole shebang culminating in the expectation of forgiveness because so-and-so has had their “come to Jesus” moment and experienced a real and lasting change of heart. It all seems so pat, so rote, and so obviously suited to keeping prominent personalities previously in positions of power or influence more or less firmly ensconced in said positions long after whatever horrors they’ve committed and supposedly atoned for.  

The really interesting thing, though, is that, in its etymological and conceptual origins, our notion of “coming to Jesus” through conversion bears more than a slight connection to the same kind of advantage-seeking we see in this modern pathology. That is, the connection between repentance-cum-conversion and making the most of opportunity is quite an ancient one. It is moreover central to both Christianity and our modern culture which has labored so long under Christian influence. 

Don’t believe me? Let me show how this works by first using the text of the New Testament—the Christ’s own supposed words, no less. I’ll discuss the peculiar passage containing Jesus’ story of the Tower of Siloam from Luke, chapter 13. We’ll look not only at the language of repentance in this text, but also at that in the verses immediately preceding, at the tail end of chapter 12, and in those immediately following, in the Parable of the Barren Fig Tree. 

Then, in a second post to come later, we’ll trace the concepts found in these New Testament passages back into the pagan Greco-Roman past, following along two chief avenues: one leading to a bronze sculpture made during the fourth century BCE and a literary tradition describing it that lasted for the next seven hundred years in antiquity (and even on into Medieval Byzantium!); and another leading into the thick of ancient Roman farming manuals, beginning at least a century and a half before the historical Jesus movement and continuing on into first-century CE sources. It’ll be a meandering, but hopefully also fascinating, trip. 

Metanoia and Kairos in the New Testament     

The Greek word in the New Testament for the concept we read most often in translation as “repentance” and “conversion” is metanoia. That term literally means something far less clearly spiritual, however. According to the letter of the word, metanoia is just a “change of mind.” 

Not simply an unmotivated switching of mental course, though, the particular shifting of mental gears pointed up in the term metanoia occurs as a direct response to the prevailing winds of the moment. That is, repentance, conversion, is inextricably linked with the concept of (missed) opportunity.

The Gospel of Luke provides a beautiful illustration of this connection across the ending and the beginning of its twelfth and thirteenth chapters. Through a close examination of these passages, we can see how Jesus develops his notion of repentance and conversion from the idea of sensing, and seizing upon, opportunity when it presents itself.

Which Way the Wind Blows

Dylan may have popularized the line “You don’t need a weatherman /to know which way the wind blows” in his 1965 song “Subterranean Homesick Blues,” but long, long before he rasped those words, the New Testament depicted Jesus voicing much the same sentiment in Galilee. 

The tail end of Luke, chapter 12, finds our good friend J. C. taking his audience to task for their apparent inability to “interpret the present time” (12:54-56). This failure stands in contrast, he argues, to their clear facility with interpreting meteorological signs, even in an age without professional weathermen. “When you see a cloud rising in the west, you immediately say, ‘It is going to rain’; and so it happens,” he tells them. “And when you see the south wind blowing, you say, ‘There will be scorching heat’; and it happens.” 

The Greek word in this passage for ‘the present time’ that the crowd is said to be ignorant of is kairos. As we shall see in the second of these posts, this word has a long and storied history in the ancient Greek language. Its basic meaning, however, can easily be intuited just by close attention to the present context. 

In Luke 12:54-56, kairos clearly refers to something that should be predictable and foreseeable from publicly available signs immediately preceding and presaging it: signs like the appearance of the sky and the landscape, or the “lay of the land,” as we now say. Moreover, like impeding weather, kairos is clearly something that Jesus believes we should act on, prepare for. In fact, he accuses his hearers of failing to do just that.           

To hammer this point home, Jesus pivots in the final verses of the chapter to talking about the fear one might experience at having to go to court with a legal opponent. In such a situation, you might be apprehensive lest the magistrate toss you in jail, from which you “will never get out” until you have “paid the very last penny” (Luke 12:57-59). He instructs his audience to settle with their accusers on the way into court, before having to appear before the judge, in order to escape this fear and avoid the ultimate penalty of prison and fines. 

It’s interesting that Jesus should turn from his discussion of reading weather signs and divining “which way the wind blows” to this legal metaphor. The verse in the Bob Dylan song “Subterranean Homesick Blues” that contains the iconic weatherman line also apparently has to do with avoiding legal entanglements, including lines about the phone being tapped and “orders from the D.A.”, as well as the couplet “Keep a clean nose / Watch the plain clothes” just before the wind blowing image. The weatherman line is also the most cited Dylan lyric in judicial decisions in the United States, where it often serves as a metaphor for the obviousness of conclusions even without needing expert testimony or to express courts’ view of the role of judges in correctly ascertaining the prevailing currents of legal opinion.     

From this conjunction of talk about reading weather signs and sensing impending legal imbroglios, I reckon we could conclude that both in the modern imagination and that of individuals living some two millennia ago in Galilee, the weather and the law are equally marked by a certain amount of caprice in their ability to impact individual fortunes. One stands before each with equal amounts of fear and anxiety over what will happen next. It is this crossroads or crux—this kairos—that Jesus is keen to warn his audience about. Because if they wait too long, the storm—and punishment—will be upon them.

It’s no coincidence, then, that the very next chapter of the Gospel of Luke, chapter 13, opens with the word kairos. The original Greek starts up with the line: parēsan de tines en autō tō kairō apangellontes autō peri…, “there were present some people at that very kairos who were informing Him [i.e. Jesus] about…” yada yada yada. Here, our friend kairos is pretty conspicuous, strengthened by the emphatic modifier autō in addition to the definite article . This heavy stress clearly stems from the fact that the preceding chapter just concluded with Jesus teaching about the concept of kairos with his weather and legal metaphors.     

In popular Bible translations, though, it’s easy to miss the emphasis placed on this word in this passage. In the famed King James Version, the crucial kairos phrase that provides the verbal and conceptual linkage from the previous chapter is rendered into English merely as “at that season.” The New International Version (NIV) beloved of Evangelicals almost passes the phrase over entirely, translating it inconspicuously as “at that time.” 

A more appropriate rendering would be something like ”at that very right time,” focusing on the “teachable moment” quality of the episode about to unfold, an opportunity that Jesus quickly seizes upon in order to deliver the quintessential “timely” message of his ministry. A message which he relays, as always, in the form of a brief story, this one involving the famous episode of the Tower of Siloam.

The Tower

The Tower of Siloam tale has no counterpart in the rest of the Synoptic Gospels, but is to be found solely in Luke 13:1-5. The story is regarded as one of the earliest passages contained in the canonical gospels and one of the most reliable in terms of being among the authentic sayings of Jesus. Some Biblical archeologists believe that the structure at its narrative center was located in the City of David, outside the walls of the Old City of Jerusalem to the southeast, between the spring of Siloam and the famous Hinnom Valley. There the archeological remains of a tower some twenty-two feet in outer diameter have been found: perhaps the base of the Tower of Siloam.     

The passage where Jesus relates the story of the Tower begins with our hero hearing from the proverbial “they” of our frequent invoking of they say of the deaths some number of Galileans have suffered under the cruelty of Pontius Pilate. Here’s that capricious “legal” system again! The colorful phrase invoked by those reporting to Jesus to describe Pilate’s persecution has it that the Roman governor “mixed [the Galileans’] blood with that of their sacrifices,” a particularly vivid and poetic turn of phrase.  

Upon hearing this news, Jesus turns to the crowd that’s always around him when he has something to teach and asks them whether they think the murdered Galileans met their fate because they were particularly awful sinners—more so, at least, than other Galileans who did not similarly expire in the persecution. No! comes his sure answer, followed by the moral of the story: “unless you repent, you will all perish as they did.” 

Jesus next adds a further example to reenforce his lesson. What of the eighteen souls who were killed when the tower in Siloam fell on them? he asks. “Do you think that they were worse offenders than all the others living in Jerusalem?” No comes the answer yet again, followed in quick succession by the ominous declaration: “Unless you repent, you will all perish just as they did.”

The Tower of Siloam story shows us yet a third area of ancient life marked by apparent cruel caprice: not just the weather and the law, but also construction in an era without building codes. Ancient Roman sources had a lot to say about the similar dangers of apartment buildings—so called insulae, literally ‘islands’—in the big city. In one of his letters to friend Titus Pomponius Atticus, notorious first-century BCE Roman statesman and asshole Cicero reports on the collapse of an insula that he owns, a calamity that crushed two of the shops usually located on the ground floor of such buildings and left the others with severe cracking in the walls. In his third satire, late-first-/early-second-century CE Roman poet Juvenal complains of unscrupulous landlords covering up such cracks with superficial plaster and “bidding the tenants to sleep securely in a ruin ready to fall.” Cicero, though, writes that he has a plan to rebuild the structure and “convert this loss into a gain.” So he’s one of the “good” landlords apparently. Nevertheless, he manages to write with stunning callousness that the destruction of his property prompted the move-outs of not only his tenants, but the building’s cohort of mice, the idea being that if even the rats are fleeing, the building must really be a total loss.    

Anyway, in both of the key lines of the passage where Jesus drives home his central point of urgency in light of unpredictable persecutions from the powers that be and the capricious collapse of Siloam’s tower, the verb translated in English as repent is metanoeō, the verbal equivalent to the noun metanoia. Notice the centrality of the concept of time and right timing in his message of repentance: Repent (metanoeō) right now this very minute or risk perishing for once and all. You know how you might translate “right now this very minute” into ancient Greek in this context? You guessed it: en autō tō kairō (or maybe the less emphatic but more demonstrative en toutō tō kairō).    

The idea of the Tower of Siloam episode, it turns out, is not unlike that of the famous Tower card in the traditional Marseilles Tarot deck, nor its precursor, the Foudre (Fouldre) ‘Lightening’ card in other earlier decks. Whether in its literal incarnation that strikes a tree and burns it down in the Belgian Tarot or the image from the seventh-century Tarot of Paris of the Devil banging his drums before the gates of Hell, the Lightening Card spelled impending doom. The Tower as depicted in the Tarot of Marseilles (where it’s called “The House of God”) and later by Pamela Coleman Smith for the Rider-Waite Tarot incorporates the lightening strike together with the actual tower, its cap falling, flame erupting from the windows, and two people plunging precipitously to their deaths. 

The central idea of the Tower Card, like Jesus’ story of the Tower of Siloam, is that you never know when calamity or sudden upheaval will come calling, so you better take action right this minute, lest you lose your chance for…whatever forever. Meet this card in its upright position and you might stand a chance of reading aright the moment of kairos and acting (planning!) accordingly. Meet it reversed, however, and you might be guilty of negligence, carelessness, even apathy. 

It is this latter fear of which Jesus seeks to convict his audience in order to spur them on toward opportunistic conversion. And he has still one more vivid story and image to drive that point home for them, this one involving the whim of a landowner who demands a harvest of timely fruits.  

Trees in the Garden

In verses six though nine of Luke, chapter 13, Jesus immediately segues from the Tower of Siloam story to his parable of the fig tree that won’t bear fruit. This one is yet another episode that only appears in Luke’s Gospel, though the curious tale of Jesus cursing the fig tree found in Mark (11:12-14) and Matthew (21:18-22) bears a certain similarity. 

The simple story features a man who has planted a fig tree in his garden and, for three years running, has gone without any harvest of fruits. Frustrated that the barren planting is taking up valuable real estate in his garden, the man tells his gardener to just cut it down. The barren fig tree gets the ax! The gardener, though, advises the man to have a just a little more patience and try one more time with the proper fertilizer. Then, if the tree still won’t bear fruit, go ahead and chop it down to make way for more productive plantings. 

As the landowner considers what modern economists term the opportunity cost of keeping an unproductive tree rooted in his precious soil, the message is again clear. To paraphrase seventeenth-century CE English lyricist Robert Herrick, we might say Jesus is pushing a “gather ye fig-fruits while ye may” sort of theme. Only, in this twisted Biblical version of carpe diem, the one doing to the urgent gathering is not us, the human audience, but God. And He won’t be satisfied with simply smelling rose buds—no sir! We find here the more crassly transparent, capitalist-inflected message of carpe frūctūs, ‘seize the fruits.’ 

The Gospel of John 15:1-2 will later revisit this theme, featuring Jesus proclaiming God a “vinegrower” (in the original Greek, “farmer”) who removes branches that bear no fruit and prunes those that do bear in order to make them bear still more. Greedy bastard, ain’t he? 

In both of these instances, Jesus is not saying live it up, enjoy life! but rather you better bear fruit now if you want to continue to live! Hearkening all the way back to the story of the Garden of Eden, He reminds us that it is God who ultimately decides the disposition of trees and fruits in his cherished garden.     

Across the ending and the beginning of chapters 12 and 13 of the Gospel of Luke, then, Jesus attempts to sell conversion with a series of violent images that all agree in the emphasis they place on timeliness and seizing opportunity before it’s too late. He calls on three great sources of capricious fate in antiquity—adverse weather, an adversarial legal system administered by outsiders, and urban construction in an era without regulated municipal building codes—to emphasize how suddenly our chances to “inherit the kingdom” through repentance and conversion can be brought to a premature end. As the final image of a garden of fruit trees bearing sweet harvests for a satisfied landowner means to impart, conversion conceived of in these terms is pragmatic, even grasping.  

Opportunistic Conversion in Early Christianity

For all the talk of early Christian persecutions at the hands of pagan Roman emperors with the attendant assurance that conversion to Christianity in the earliest years of the Church’s existence must surely have been about pure, unalloyed spirituality, sociologist of religion Rodney Stark argued persuasively in his 1996 book The Rise of Christianitythat the titular religion was in fact able to spread with such lightening rapidity in the first few centuries CE precisely because of entirely pragmatic, cost-to-benefit-style conversion. 

In his book, Stark argues that Christianity rose to eventually become the preeminent religiosity in the Roman world because Christians offered a better package to converts than pagan society and religion did. Christians, Stark maintained, better leveraged the power of social networks than did their pagan competitors. The enhanced social networks constructed and leveraged by Christians resulted in better care taken of one another in tangible, material ways, including looking after the sick, charity to the poor, aid for the helpless, and the like. 

Indeed, the very early Christian practice of condemning and disallowing abortions formed part and parcel of this program of enhanced care, as it was the case in that epoch that abortions proved frequently fatal to woman and child alike. Early Christians also disallowed the practice of infanticide, relatively common in pagan circles, especially when it came to female children. Moreover, they generally granted women higher status than did the prevailing pagan culture: the only person named a deacon in the text of the New Testament is in fact a woman by the name of Phoebe mentioned in Romans 16:1-2

Through these practices, Christians won for their communities greater numbers of female converts, higher birth rates, and markedly lower infant mortality for female offspring. Moreover, all those Christian woman also frequently intermarried with pagan men, giving rise to countless households brought up practicing the religion of their mother. Christians, then, came essentially to out-breed pagan competitors. 

The point of discussing all this is simply to emphasize how, even in a world where being openly Christian could sometimes lead to political persecution and martyrdom, conversion brought with it palpable and immediate material and social benefits that nevertheless made it an attractive option on a wide scale. So much so, in fact, that, within a span of just a few centuries, Christianity had grown to eclipse all other religions within the Roman Empire.  

By the way, I’ll mention here that, since Rodney Stark had previously made a name for himself by studying the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (LDS) and seeking to explain its meteoric rise in global membership numbers, his book The Rise of Christianity attracted the attention of Mormon scholars at Brigham Young University (BYU). In a 2000 review of Stark’s book, two BYU scholars took issue with the work for precisely its depiction of conversion, writing: “The book relegates religious conversion to a rational choice cost benefit theory while at the eleventh hour it only lamely mentions the spiritual virtue of conversion as ‘its own reward.’” 

In modern Christian in-group contexts, to acknowledge a pragmatic function of conversion is unacceptable and tacky, obscuring the “spiritual” truth supposedly at its root. The first words out of any pair of Mormon missionaries’ mouths when first meeting with “an investigator” are of “Heavenly Father’s love” and asking whether the would-be convert knows they are so loved from on high. Of course, the divine love of which they speak is one Mormons are more than willing to attempt to replicate here on earth by eagerly welcoming the convert into their community with open arms and showering on them the practical benefits attendant upon signing up with the LDS religion, including, but not limited to, financial aid when needed, extensive employment networks, meals brought over following major life events like births and funerals, and so on. All in exchange, of course, for strict behavioral modification and compliance on the part of the new convert, who must now abide by the “Law of Chastity”; keep the “Word of Wisdom” in abstaining from coffee, tea, tobacco, and drugs (not to mention the Sabbath holy); and uphold or “sustain” the leadership of the Church on both local and national levels.

Luckily for the Mormon scholars who took issue with Stark’s analysis and argument, the LDS faith has long preached that a “Great Apostasy” occurred within Christianity fairly early on in its historical evolution, a rift rectified only when Joseph Smith received his revelations and launched the LDS Church onto its path of ascendancy in what Mormons refer to as “the Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.” Accordingly, the BYU reviewers were able to conclude that Rodney Stark’s idea of opportunistic conversion was simply indicative of the ideological and spiritual rot that creeped into the politicized Church during the Great Apostasy. They wrote: “Latter Day Saints can to some extent allow Stark his free-market theorizing considering the lack of true spiritual conviction among converts by the time of the fourth century when the divergence from original Christianity had well evolved.” So there’s crass commercialized conversion and then there’s “true spiritual conversion,” which is, of course, the only kind happening within the LDS Church. LOL. 

The movie tie-in version of the memoir of Mormon missionary John Groberg who evangelized in the Tongan islands in the 1950s that inspired the 2001 movie The Other Side of Heaven actually emphasizes this same point quite explicitly. In the book, the author devotes chapter 10 to an episode where a ten-year-old boy fell out of a mango tree and was brought to Elder Groberg in an apparently dead state, the child’s distraught parents begging the missionary to do something to save the boy’s life. Elder Groberg prays over the boy and then, prompted by what he believes is the Holy Spirit, gives the child “artificial respiration” by pushing forcefully on the middle of his back while the unfortunate’s body lay prone, head turned to the side. After a while of this treatment, the boy finally twitches and begins retching up a flood of half-digested mango. Following the vomiting, the child begins breathing shallowly. The missionary and the victim’s family continue praying over him for two nights, after which the boy comes to a little, opening his eyes and asking “where am I?” He would eventually make a full recovery. 

In commenting on the episode near the end of the chapter, Groberg notes pointedly: “I have learned that true faith in God does not require specific physical benefits but rather a sincere desire that God’s will be done, knowing that He knows best.” He is then careful to emphasize how “[t]here was no huge stir among the people of Niuatoputapu, even though they knew of the event.” Nevertheless, he reports that “a few more doors were opened to us” and that he felt “a subtle change,” with the result that “the opportunity to teach and bear testimony was a little greater.” It’s fascinating that Groberg chooses to conclude his chapter in this way, especially given the fact that when the boy’s anguished father initially brought his lifeless body to the missionary for healing, only to be met by Groberg telling him “[i]f God has allowed his life to leave, we should be reconciled,” Groberg reports that the dad responded: “I’ve talked to God. I want my boy back now more than God wants him now. Make him well. It’s fine.” 

Sounds to me like Groberg was well aware of the power of apparent miracles to materially inspire conversions. So he attempts to mold the narrative of this one in two directions at once. He acknowledges that the blessed event softened people’s hearts and made his evangelism a tad easier. Yet he also simultaneously attempts to wave off any appearance of a crass calculus of medical-miracle-to-conversion ratios, even as he quotes the grieving father outright demanding a physical quid pro quo.        

When we take a gander at wider Euro-American efforts at proselytization and (forced) evangelization, it becomes clear that colonizers often suspect the motivations of their converts. For instance, there’s the stereotypical—and derogatory—concept of “Rice Christians” bemoaned by colonizing missionaries the world over. The term refers to those who convert principally out of mercenary desire to get whatever material goods they reckon the missionaries have to confer. 

We find this suspicion even—perhaps especially—in the case of those forced to convert. For instance, the long-suffering formerly Jewish conversos of fourteenth- and fifteenth-century CE Spain were never fully accepted into Catholic society, no matter how they behaved. They were forever subject to harassment and discrimination precisely because, irrespective of their (forced) conversion, they were never permitted access to the kind of social solidarity enjoyed by those without Jewish ancestry. Nevertheless, if they didn’t at least outwardly fully embrace and correctly perform their “newfound” faith to Catholic liking, the conversos got the even more stigmatized and abusive moniker of marranos or “swine.” 

When it comes to Euro-American attitudes toward the missionized, there’s often a sense that the convert might be responding more to a selfish drive for gain than any inner desire for real and lasting change. And why not, when Jesus Himself sold conversion by emphasizing the need to seize opportunity when it presents itself, even on pain of death? After all, didn’t Jesus tell His hearers that He was “the living bread” and that “whoever eats of this bread will live forever”? Or that He was “the living water,” along with the invitation that “anyone who is thirsty” should come and drink? When the very epicenter of the faith announces He is bread and water and a door, it’s hard not to think of conversion as practical sustenance and a means of opening portals to success.

Here lies the rub, I think, with my suspicion and mistrust of conversion and the converted, especially those inside the in-group. At its etymological and conceptual origins, the concept of repentance leading to conversion (metanoia) appears inextricably intertwined with opportunity (kairos) and—dare I say it?—opportunism. It’s widely acknowledged in our delayed-return culture and worldview that conversion performs an instrumental and vehicular function for us. It’s a tool to be leveraged in order to get us places that bring group solidarity and, with that solidarity, hoped for prosperity. 

People convert to join and leverage the power of groups. And they are enticed to convert by those that helm groups who know how to leverage individual ambition into enforced solidarity with group aims and intentions. Moreover, when solidarity wanes—as it always does in groups, regardless of ideological commitment—conversion can be renewed and can, in turn, renew group solidarity. 

At the beginning of the third chapter of the Gospel of John, Jesus speaks with Nicodemus, styled as “a leader of the Jews,” and ultimately criticizes the man for being a “teacher of Israel” and yet “not understanding” the things Jesus has to teach. Just before this criticism, Jesus again invokes the image of the wind blowing where it will and his audience, Nicodemus, knowing neither whence it comes nor whither it goes. The word for “wind” here, pneuma, comprises clear wordplay, meaning both literal air and the “spirit” of God that moves in converts’ hearts and minds. 

It’s surely no coincidence that just before this talk of wind and faulty knowledge of weather, Jesus urges pointedly in verse 7 that “you must be born again,” using a word for ‘again,’ anōthen, that literally means ‘from above.’ Just as in the “weatherman” episode from Luke 12 discussed earlier, here Jesus urges understanding through keeping a watchful eye on the heavens above and acting accordingly. 

Jesus next proceeds, in verse 14, to segue from this discussion to recalling the episode from Numbers 21:8-9 where Moses held aloft the Nehushtan (so named in 2 Kings 18:4), or standard of the bronze serpent, that he claimed would protect those Israelites who rallied around it from the retribution sent by God for their blaspheming against Him. In John 3:14, the evangelist writes that Jesus is the Nehushtan, providing a rallying point and eternal life “from above” for those born anōthen, ‘again/from above.’ 

Conversion creates solidarity through rallying around shared symbols and the authority of those who hold those symbols aloft. And it can be renewed again and again as the spirit, and the prevailing winds of the present moment, move you.        

Intermission

For some of you, this point in the discussion might be far enough. We’ve seen a sufficient amount to understand the Biblical precedent for an opportunity-conversion connection. Additionally, we’ve parlayed that discussion into a brief examination of the instrumental function of conversion for groups and individuals. 

For those of you who want to delve still further in order to more fully grasp just how ancient and pervasive the connection between (missed) opportunity and repentance-cum-conversion is, though, this particular rabbit hole has plenty of additional depth to plumb. 

In the next post, we’ll trace the concepts of kairos and metanoia backwards in time to their origins in pagan Greco-Roman literature and thought. We’ll see how the concept of kairos was imbued by ancient pagans with godlike attributes, and we’ll additionally explore the notion’s linkage to discussions of agriculture, making perfect sense of Jesus’ choice to cap off his treatment of kairos and conversion in Luke 13 with the parable of the barren fig tree and the impatient landowner. 

Hopefully you’ll come back in right time for the rest of the discussion.    

One thought on “A Come-to-Jesus Moment about Come-to-Jesus Moments

  1. Pingback: Paying Attention to What’s Behind the Conversion Curtain | The Devil's Fane

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