Saturday, May 22, 2010

I like to think of Jesus as...

All right, long time since my last post, sorry guys. I'm going to really try to post on a regular basis from now on. Anyways...

Some of you may have heard the term "Everyman". It is a figure in a book, play, or movie, who is not really a character of his own-instead, he is meant to represent everyone and anyone. He is not white, black, or hispanic-he has no ethnicity. Although he is probably portrayed as male, he can usually be replaced with a female "Everywoman" without altering the story he is in. He has no specific likes or dislikes, no pet peeves or special characteristics that set him apart from anyone else. He has no birthplace, nor is he a specific age. In short, he is anyone you want him to be.

Now we get to the point of this blog entry. If you know me well, you might have heard this rant before and already know where it's going. Here it is-Jesus was not and is not an Everyman.
Jesus was a real person. He was born at a specific time in history, and the place of his birth can be pinpointed on a map. He was male. He liked certain things (holiness) and disliked (and hated) other certain things. Possibly the most important thing about Jesus (you know, besides him being God) is that he was Jewish.

The point of this is that Jesus is not whoever you want him to be. You might have seen the movie "Talledega Nights" (I am not suggesting you do see it: in fact, you probably shouldn't). If you have seen it, you know which scene I'm talking about. While funny, it is wrong in almost every sense. You can't say, "Well, sometimes it's just easier to think of him as white, like I am." Would you think that about a friend of yours who isn't white? Of course you wouldn't. That would be obviously wrong. Same with Jesus. Jesus was not exactly like you are, and it would be wrong to picture him as such.

I'm reading what I've written, and I sound like a grumpy, old-fashioned Christian telling young people to stop being so disrespectful. I'm not trying to sound like that. But I'm tired of people acting as if Jesus is a blank slate on which they can put whatever they want, whatever they need for Jesus to be. In addition, I think that Jesus' "solidity," his real personhood, is incredibly comforting. It means that the author and perfecter of our faith, the one in who's name we pray, is not "a" Jesus-he is "the" Jesus, the one and only. He is the focal point of our faith, and it is comforting that this point is fixed and cannot be moved.

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