Our Culturally Minimized Jesus

 

We have just come through one of the Decisive Rhythms of the Church Calendar - the events of the Holy Week. The time when we see Christ as the crucified and risen Lord.

I finished reading Mark Sayer's, The Road Trip That Changed the World. Here is a lengtty (and outstanding) assessment of how the culture and church culture as well see Jesus (pp. 202).

Jesus is ripped from His position and recast as the nearby god, reshaped by our culture expectations, bobbed of His counter cultural essence. Instead He is turned into a deliverer of dreams, a magician of wish fulfillment, Walt Disney with a beard and robe, making our twenty-first century consumer dreams come true.

Or, He is recast as a permissive hipster, a laid-back spiritual guru, not hung up on whether we really follow Him, someone like "The Dude" in the Coen brothers film The Big Lebowski. Others turn Him into the therapist, quietly listening to our droning, completely obsessed with and attentive to our emotional state, a professional assistant in our quest for well-being. Never asking us to do anything - just simply and benignly listening to us.

Sometimes I feel like an unwanted voice when I remind those seeking a deeper intimacy with Jesus, that He is not a "tame lion," that He requires a total and complete surrender and obedience to His Lordship, that friendship is not found apart from followership, and that the spiritual journey is to entrust oneself into the hands of a holy, majestic, awe-full, inspiring, love that is relentless.

May you draw close to the Jesus of the Gospels and not the watered down, minimmized, spiritually anemic, syrupy-sweet Jesus we have re-imagined, so we are free from any cost of discipleship.

Brian K. Rice
Leadership ConneXtions International
BrianRice@lci.leaders.org