In Greek mythology, Perseus was the son of Zeus who killed Medusa, the monster-like Gorgon with a head of hair consisting of snakes. You probably remember the story. If anyone looked on Medusa, that person would turn to stone. So, when Perseus went to kill Medusa, he used his shield to look at her reflection so he could approach Medusa in her sleep and cut off her head. Of course, Perseus still couldn’t look at her head even though she was dead, so he kept it in a bag, wrapped up so he wouldn’t accidentally see it. Later in the story, Perseus defeated the Kraken (a sea monster) by taking Medusa’s head out of the bag and holding it out for the sea monster to gaze upon and turn to stone. It’s a famous scene depicted in ancient sculptures, in art works, and now in a number of movies.

But it’s all rather grotesque when you think about it — carrying around a severed head, lifting up a head without its body. Decapitation is not pretty. If you were into severed heads without their bodies, we would think something is really wrong with you.

Except, it seems, when it comes to our Christian lives. Then we think decapitation is cool.

Some of us even think it is positively good and beautifully spiritual. Too many Christians think they can have Jesus without the church. They want the head without the body. They want a decorpulated Christianity. They want a decapitated Jesus.

Do Not Be True to Yourself, pp.24-25