Thursday, February 17, 2011
My Jesus is Mad Again
I've been reading this book called "Imaginary Jesus," by Matt Mikatalos, and it's great! It has different Jesuses popping up everywhere. And they get into fights, what fun! It's an insightful and humorous look into the world of our imagination and how it doesn't hold up to the real Jesus we should find in scripture and experience.
My imaginary Jesus probably would be a mix of Mark's "KJV Jesus" and "Perpetually Wrathful Jesus." At least those are the Jesuses I seem to have grown up with.
That's why I so desperately need to read my Bible. Even as I type, I have my fat ESV study Bible sitting on the table beside me, untouched this morning. It broods. But I've got to get inside it and explore.
I've want to see these imaginary Jesuses that have been with me so long dissappear. And I really, really want to meet the real Jesus. Even if he's ugly, as the Bible hints, and even if he has the breath of my 8th grade math teacher. He has the words of life, and that's what counts.
Prior to reading Matt's masterful book on the subject of all the made up Jesuses we believe in, I'd been on a long hard search for the Jesus I know. It's weird, searching for someone you know already. But nevertheless I search.
Matt really nails something in his book. When do I slow down, just be quiet and give Jesus the time to speak? Even as I write I'm in Starbucks, listening to Tracy Chapman, with a ton of background "life-noise" going on. Starbucks employees are not known for being quiet. Hospitality is their goal, and often includes loud clangs, bangs and raucous laughter. This is the Starbucks I experience. If you find a quiet one, lead me to that Holy Grail of peaceful coffee.
Is it that life makes it hard to slow down and hear from Jesus? Or are we simply afraid to hear from him? In my case, I think it's both.
My Jesuses are really pretty scary. I don't like them much. KJV Jesus is always walking around frowning, holding his fingers up in that weird way he does, making pronouncements and declarations that end in " - or thou shalt burn in a lake of eternal fire." He's a fun guy to hang out with. Perpetually Wrathful Jesus is more of the same, but he typically pops up to condemn me when I'm reading parables: "You see all those seeds that landed on the stones, were choked by worldly weeds or were eaten by birds. All those seeds are you, and I'm going to kill you you naughty seed!"
Would the real Jesus please stand up? I'm going to stop for a little and attempt to pick up my ESV study Bible, this takes effort as it weighs 65lbs., and see if Truly Reformed Jesus can teach me anything. No, I am going to stop, try to quit intellectualizing everything, read and listen. Maybe Jesus won't be that hard to find.
One last thought: Of course we all know that the real Jesus was a Ninja. Nobody but a Ninja could have gotten out of as many tight spots as Jesus did if he didn't have some "num-chuck skills."