A Coke Zero® ad stresses “AND”—tastes great AND zero calories. The actor shouts “Who wants ‘or’? ‘Or’ makes you choose.” Then he sings a version of War: “OR, What is it good for, absolutely nothing!”
Maybe for diet drinks the “AND” life with the tagline “Enjoy Everything” works. But not in my too-much-AND life.
Who wants OR? Me.
I don’t want everything. Everything includes . . . well, everything
I want my family to live passionate lives for Christ without the and of the pain that drives us to Him. I want revival with no and of repentance, grace with no and of groaning, success with no and of sacrifice, mercy with no and of messes.
But somehow those I love and respect the most are poster families for the AND life (even if they wish for the OR life).
Mike and Terese prayed for revival for their city and for the kids at their son’s urban elite prep school to become Christians. It’s happening. But it comes with the AND of their beloved son’s football-related traumatic brain injury. Derrick and Cathleen prayed for their college daughter to refocus on her faith. She amazes them with her renewed passion for Christ. The AND? An unplanned pregnancy and complicated custody battle with the ex-boyfriend and the baby's adoptive family. A family member is facing a painful divorce. It's driving him to questions about religion that he never considered before. Yes, it is worth it. But is there no other way?
Why can’t I have “OR?” Why can't I have the the depth of character and Christian faith of people I respect without the AND of their lives, the darkness and pain that, in part, is what made them the compassionate, overflowing people I want to be like.
I confess. I want all the benefits of the Christian life without the AND of the brokenness, confusion, neediness or vulnerability.
I want to live in a different ad, the “Easy-Button” life promoted by Staples.
The Bible never tries to sell us the Easy-Button life. From the beginning, it clearly portrays the Both-And life. In Genesis, we see both the creation and the fall, and see redemption weaving threads of hope and life into the fabric of sin and death. In the Gospels, Jesus comes both as Savior and Sacrifice. Mary both miraculously gives birth to the Son of God and bears the mother’s pain of his public death that would save the world. As believers, we experience this Both-And world, this already/not yet place where we live out who we are and wait for who we will be in this home that is not our home.
Maybe the Coke Zero one-liner is as close to theological truth as an ad can get. “OR, What is it good for?” Biblically rich living is a Both-And life, filled with simplicity and shrouded with mystery, glimpses of glory in the midst of pain, ongoing choices to embrace both joy and sorrow. You can choose to live the “OR” life but you will find it a lesser life. You’ll find yourself living out the Miller Lite tagline of life: Great taste. Less filling.
Jesus promises a life that has both great taste and is more filling—a full and filled-to-overflowing life.
OR, what is it good for?
I want it all—Jesus and every ounce of life he is calling me to live. So I will edit the Coke Zero tagline and choose—not to “enjoy everything”—but to enjoy Jesus in everything. I choose the AND life.