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16 November 2007

What I Think Jesus Might Do...

Honesty time: selfishly, I'm just a little hesitant to refer people to other blogs because it makes me happy to know that people regularly read the things I post here. I guess I'm paranoid that they'll wander away to other blogs and never return. But that is so self-serving. My whole purpose in starting this blog was to get people in the Church to think; to question why they believe what they believe (to think outside the box), and to find the answers within the Scriptures. Given that purpose, my selfishness takes a far, far distant second (and hopefully last) place.

I hit reader Preston's blog yesterday to peruse a great piece written by Charles Finney 130 years ago (if you read the comments section here, you may have already seen it -- I take issue with a couple of very minor things, but they are not the meat of the writing, and I believe they're simply not fully clarified statements).

Then I scrolled down a bit and saw the post "Emerging Into What?"

Friends, the material in that post alarms me. It scares me that I may give the slightest impression that in my quest here to bring "cultural relevance" to the forefront, some who read only a post or two may think that I am pushing a watered-down, feel-good gospel.

In the video, one sage says this: "I've heard the kingdom of God is supposed to be like a house party, so let's do communion like a house party." Huh?!

A girl in the video asks herself which issues would be those that Jesus would have on His plate if He physically came to earth in the present day. She names racism, the environment, globalization, and feeding the masses. Yes, those are real issues facing everyone; not just the Church (except for the "globalization" thing -- I'm not sure if there's a word with a more potentially open-ended meaning). Would Jesus make them His keystone issues? Hm... I'm not so sure. Basically, the girl in the video is saying, "If I were Jesus, here's what I'd be focusing on."

Here we see the problem of viewing the world, Jesus Christ, and the Church through our own spectacles. What an out-of-whack point of view! We, as members of the Church (those saved by grace through Jesus' sacrifice of Himself for our sins, and living a transformed and changed life with Jesus Christ as Lord), are to view ourselves, the world, and the Church through the lenses of the Scripture and what it tells us of Christ, not the other way around.

My one admonition to the Church today in light of Preston's post: I see that movement (the one espoused by the group in the video) as being based on a massively liberal, anti-Biblical, self-serving theology. However, before saying, "Thank God that we're not like that," we need to make sure that we are, indeed, not like that! I recall hearing a preacher in a "conservative" church some years ago begin a point with the statement, "I don't think that my Jesus would ever..." And in my brain something went, "DING! DING! DING! RED FLAG!" So before pointing fingers I realize that, to our fault, we may be guilty of doing some of the same things we accuse the "church" in the video of doing.

If we think that Jesus would or wouldn't do a particular thing, it had better first be based upon study of what the Scriptures say, not upon our particular worldview, prejudices, or traditions (or the potentially greater judment-clouding desire to be rid of tradition).

By the way, it's very important to note that simply being "seeker-sensitive" does not automatically shove a church fellowship into a mold of anti-Biblical theology.

I was totally derailed by reading/viewing that post this morning. I was initially going to do a "Geek Love Poem Merchandise" follow-up but I'm in a different frame of mind now.

Many of you who read this blog know me personally, and therefore you hopefully know what and Whom I stand for. Many of you don't. For that reason I'm going to be following suit with Preston and adding a moderately comprehensive "About Me" section in the sidebar. I will also be adding a statement of purpose to the blog header. Thanks, Preston!


Tony M said...

Very, very good comments. I had been to the Charles Finney piece (but only skimmed it), but hadn't looked further at the time, intending to get back to it. Well, I'm still going to have to get back to the video - but I'm leaving it open on my web browser here at home to remind me.

You are correct that we often times try to see Jesus through our view instead of us and the world through his. I remember someone (my dad, maybe) commenting about the silly "What would Jesus drive?" slogans (often found on bumper stickers of "eco-friendly" vehicles) - well, he'd probably be driving a 15-passenger van in order to carry around the disciples (if he elected to drive at all - he might stick to walking in order to interact with more people along his route), and we know those aren't necessarily "environmentally friendly" vehicles. But, really, does the notion of "what would Jesus drive" even make any sense? Like you mentioned, it's someone trying to "fit" Jesus into their own "gospel" of the moment (for the person with that slogan, a gospel of "let's save the earth" - not "let's really save the people of the earth!").

Excellent, very thought-provoking post - keep up the good work (that is, God's work)!

Ralph said...

Ok, first off, it has to be said. We do know the disciplines drove an Honda, for during Pentacost the Bible says "And when they were all in one Accord".

Whew, Dean, I beat you too it.

Back on topic, we all have to some extent or another a cartoon image of Jesus. Kinda like Superman (sorry Dean, it works to make my point). Jesus is Clark Kent, a guy that never says boo to anyone. A guy that is a friend to all good people. However, when the bad people appear, Jesus is Superman. He can fix our problems and fix the bad guy's wagons too.

Ever seen the movie Talledega Nights? There is a scene where they argue about which Jesus to pray to. The main character sees Jesus as the "Little Baby Jesus", his friend sees Jesus as with Leonard Skinner playing Freebird and his kid imagines him as "Ninja Jesus".

This scene is funny, but it is also true. Deep down, we all try to come up with a comfortable version of Jesus. A Jesus that agrees with us most of the time. The problem is that Jesus doesn't fit well into boxes. He isn't a Republican or a Democratic: he's a Monarch. He's not into saving the earth (he going to make a new one anyhow), but he is into saving the world. He cares for each one of us personally, and has just the right tonics to heal our souls. He will not be used by us, but he will allow us to be used by him. We all tend to get that backwards sometimes.


The hard part is that we can always see others trying to cram him into a box clearly, but it is hard to see ourselves doing the same thing.

Preston N said...

These are some great comments!

This all reminds me of what Jesus said "And the Truth shall set you free!" Free from what? Global Warming? Racism? Poverty? The answer is simple - its sin. Once we have been freed from the ravages and destructive nature of sin - then all this other stuff is secondary. If people of the earth decided to repent and stop living in their selfishness and live completely for Christ then poverty would be erased, racism would be a thing of the past. Instead everyone ones to treat the symptoms - but we already have the cure - its through faith in Jesus Christ who takes away the sins of the world.

christy said...

OK, here's my take on this. I agree whole heartedly w/ all that has been posted. However, I truly, truly w/ all of my heart believe that NONE of us can completely be who Christ wants us to be unless we believe the ENTIRE Bible to be true. Here's where I'm going - creation in six literal days. If we say that we believe that Jesus Christ was immaculately conceived, but we say that God didn't/couldn't possibly create the world in six "literal - 24 hour days", then what are we saying about God's word? Why do I bring this up? B/C when people question our faith we need to have the answers. So why would we want to say that this part is true, BUT Genesis 1-3/Revelations is mostly figurative, yada yada yada.

OK, to try and clarify why I bring this up - we've been discussing seeing Jesus through the world's eyes instead of seeing the world through His, right? The world as a whole doesn't believe that God created the world in six literal days as HE SAID HE DID in Genesis- and a lot of Christians take that stand along w/ the world. WHY? Why does it take so much more faith to believe this miracle (creation in six days) than any other (immaculate conception, dying and rising from the dead) God has done/does?

I know I've referred people to this website before but I'll do it again...

BTW I have taken the six literal day stand long before I saw this website, but the information I have received from it has been awesome.

I hope that I didn't completely get side tracked. This is just something that I personally have a passion about and I do believe that the age of the earth is vital to our faith and view.


Dean Lusk said...

I'm going to ask that readers (commenters, actually) abstain from debate on the subject you bring up. I definitely see your line of reasoning (and the conclusions are good ones!), but this is one topic I decided, at the time of the site's establishment, would not intentionally be opened up for debate.

Those within the Church on both general sides of the issue (young vs. old) can point to the Scriptures to establish and support their positions, and while at the core both are doubtless well-intentioned, such debate can easily (and often nearly immediately) become highly volatile, and I do not want to simply foster polarization.

I further ask that if anyone disagrees with the basis for my request, they will do me the courtesy of voluntarily conforming to it anyhow. :)

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