God’s story from beginning to end describes glory getting dirty and dirt
getting blessed. The Creator made humanity out of the dust, and if on
that day we left a little dirt behind in the creases of his hands, it was
surely a sign of things to come.
When God made us again, he came first to a teenage girl, and then to
unwashed shepherds and later to pagan astrologers. God spoke the gospel
as a dirty word into a religious culture. “The Word,” we are told by John
at the start of his Gospel, became “flesh.” The Latin used here is
caro, from which we get “carnivore,” “incarnation,” “carnival,” and even “carnal.”
God became a lump of meat, a street circus, a man like every man.
John is messing with our minds. He knew perfectly well that this
opening salvo was a shocking, seemingly blasphemous way to start his
Gospel. Like Malcolm McLaren, Alexander McQueen, or Quentin
Tarantino, he is grabbing attention, insisting upon an audience,
demanding a response. “In the beginning,” he says, echoing the open-
ing line of the Bible, lulling us all into a false sense of religious security.
At this point, I imagine John pausing mischievously, just long
enough for every son of Abraham to fill in the blank incorrectly.
“In the beginning,” he continues, “was the Word, and the Word was
with God, and the Word was God.” It’s the familiar creation narrative
outrageously remixed, featuring a mysterious new aspect of the divin-
ity named, like some kind of superhero in a Marvel comic,
And yet for John’s Greek readers—the vast majority of Christians
by the time the Gospel was written—the Word was not a new concept at all. For them this was the familiar Logos of domestic philosophy,
that divine animating principle pervading the cosmos.
We’ve been celebrating 1 year since the release of Pete Greig’s latest book, ‘Dirty Glory’ (excerpt above).
It has been invaluable to us as a praying community, inspiring us to press deeper into God, trusting that he will send us out into the places that need Him most. If you would like to buy a copy for yourself, you can do so by via Amazon or Eden.